Had I written the headline for this commentary, I’d have gone with something cheeky: “How circumstances alter cases.” But that’s just me, and Dr. Kendrick’s title works well enough.
At issue is the technical meaning of the phrase Covid-19 case. To a practicing doctor (and to an honest statistician, I would add), a valid Covid-19 case is one in which symptoms of the disease are present. Definitionally, there is no such thing as an asymptomatic case of Covid-19.
On the surface this is merely common sense: If you have no symptoms, then you aren’t sick and you should not be counted among the ill in statistical reporting. Dr. Kendrick contends that patients who technically are not ill are being reported as Covid-19 cases, potentially scaring the bejeebus out of the public at large for no good reason.