COVID-19 Symptom Tracking Can Be An Early Warning System, Says UWM Epidemiologist

By Audrey Nowakowski
April 14, 2020

It’s been over a month since President Trump declared a national emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic. Despite a national campaign for screening and drive-thru testing, most Americans still can’t get a laboratory test to confirm whether or not they have COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus — even if they show symptoms.

With backlogs and delays throughout private, federal and local health care systems, health officials don’t have the information they need to really understand the scope of this pandemic.

“In a nutshell, it’s a little bit like flying blind,” says Dr. Amy Kalkbrenner, an epidemiologist at UW-Milwaukee’s Zilber School of Public Health. “We know that the case counts, as important as they are, are only representing the tip of the iceberg.”

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