The consequences of neglecting to collect multisectoral data to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Date: Oct. 18, 2021
From: CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association Journal(Vol. 193, Issue 41)
Publisher: CMA Joule Inc.
Document Type: Letter to the editor
Length: 811 words
Lexile Measure: 1460L

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We can describe the status of the COVID-19 pandemic in our region by daily counts of cases, intensive care unit (ICU) admissions and deaths. Yet we struggle to describe with the same timeliness or precision how the pandemic has affected other aspects of health care or society. We cannot report current wait times for cancer surgery, deaths from suicide or overdose, small business closures, housing evictions, or school absences, for example. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all aspects of society, but a large gap has developed in public communication about the effects of the pandemic. This is because governments regularly report data on only a small number of easy-to-understand metrics and projections that reflect the direct effects of COVID-19, such as COVID-19 cases, testing, vaccination rates, hospital admissions and deaths. The impact of the pandemic on other domains of health care and other aspects of society are reported less regularly, with little standardization of metrics, low use of timely indicators, and often not by a single, authoritative source.

Policy decisions are becoming increasingly complex as virus variants, combined with variable vaccination rates, contribute to uncertainty about immunity. Moreover, the public are exhausted from the ongoing effects of pandemic measures. Therefore, governments should...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A678710299