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Why doesn't AZ track COVID-19 recoveries?

Pima Co. Health Director explains
Posted at 10:31 PM, Jul 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-10 01:31:48-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — Each day thousands of new COVID-19 cases are added to the cumulative total from the state.

Arizona, tracks positive tests and deaths, but not recoveries.

Pima County Health Director. Dr. Theresa Cullen, said that's because it's there's no simple equation that can help health experts figure out how many people are recovered.

"Wouldn't it be great if it was simple math 'A minus B equals C?' I would just love that," Cullen said. "So that's not going to happen right now. There may be a time that happens, but it's not now."

The problem, Dr. Cullen explained, is that no one really knows what "recovery" means when it comes to COVID-19. Does it simply mean the person survived? That's the survival rate.

Cullen said recovery can range from people who are still in the hospital to people who are back to full health.

Either way, Cullen said "recovery" needs to be defined by the Centers for Disease Control, because it's a public definition, and not a clinical one.

"We're still trying to figure that one out. So I expect that within the next two to three months. We'll have a definition," Cullen said.

She said with the constantly changing course of COVID-19 and the accelerated caseload, it'll be difficult to pin down the recovery rate.

"This hasn't been like the flu. We've dealt with the flu for a really long time," Cullen said. "This is a new disease people are not aware of the long-term consequences."