The winter holiday season is expected to make it difficult to efficiently determine COVID-19 infection rates, for myriad reasons which include difficulties in being able to receive a rapid COVID test and an anticipated slowdown of accurate infection reporting.

As the country heads into its second pandemic winter in the teeth of a ferociously quick variant, the safest assumption is that Omicron is going to do here what it’s been doing elsewhere. Infections are going to spike, whether U.S. institutions can track them or not. Lots of people are going to get sick. And until the holidays and the testing crunch are behind us, no one will know what’s really happened.

In this information vacuum, some of us will tend toward caution and others toward risk. By the time Americans find out the results of our collective actions, the country will have weeks of new cases—an unknown proportion of which will turn into hospitalizations and deaths—baked in. In the meantime, the CDC’s COVID Data Tracker Weekly Review has wished us all a safe and happy holiday and gone on break until January 7, 2022.

Read the full article at The Atlantic.