What the omicron numbers tell us and do not tell us

May Louise Kelly for NPR spoke briefly with biostatistics professor Natalie Dean on the omicron surge and what we can take away from the data:

Yeah, I mean, the public health impact is made up a lot of different things, and we’re most acutely interested in severe disease and death. But, of course, infections have impacts and we think about the disruption – you know, all the people who are going to need to miss work, including health care professionals and, you know, frontline workers. So the numbers have meaning, but it is a different public health impact when someone is mildly ill or doesn’t even have symptoms than when someone is severely ill.

The numbers are up but they don’t mean the same thing from when the numbers were up last time.