Since the early days of COVID-19, when very little information was available regarding this new virus, we now have an abundance of data. Data such as:
- Cases recorded, per nation, per time period
- Positive cases per x number of tests
- People admitted to hospital with serious COVID symptoms
- People who died, who had ever tested positive for COVID
- People who died WITH COVID
- People who died because of COVID
The above list isn't necessarily available in all categories for all countries. However it illustrates the type of information that is now available, and being recorded.
What I want to know is why nations (as advised by their health authorities) are still using the basic "recorded cases" statistic. As far as any logic should suggest, this figure in itself would only be important if it had been established that merely catching the virus would highly likely lead to hospitalisation, and that death was significantly likely.
However this is not the case. As we have now seen, the vast majority of people don't suffer especially serious symptoms. Most of them fully recover. Only a small fraction of people suffer from such serious symptoms as to require hospitalisation; and an even smaller fraction die.
It's also been established (in the UK at least) that death statistics themselves were seriously flawed: in the first couple of months of data recording, they recorded every person as a COVID death statistic simply if they had ever tested positive - without separating out those cases where they actually died with the virus (and they still haven't properly defined their death stats to accurately reflect deaths definitely caused by COVID, which personally I think is the only useful death figure).
So - given that it has been established how low the mortality rate is, why do authorities still use "number of cases" as the headline figure on which to base policy? Surely the more relevant figure would be to measure the number of serious hospitalisations. Because the rest of the people simply catch it; feel sick for a few days; and then recover. The recoveries are surely of little consequence.
An example of numbers of infections being used as a measure to guide government policy. The British government keeps a list of countries, from which if you arrive, the traveller must self-isolate for 14 days. This list is based on the current numbers of cases being reported in that country (irrespective of the actual death rate).
One of the main criteria is the latest seven-day infection rate, which gives an estimate of the prevalence of active cases.
If it reaches 20 reported new cases per 100,000 of the population then authorities consider ordering returning travellers to quarantine.
So this is a case of government policy being based entirely on rate of infection.