If you want COVID vaccine data — little things like whether the shots or the boosters are actually working — the CDC has an answer for you: Mind your own business.
The New York Times reported on Sunday that while the CDC “has collected data on hospitalizations for Covid-19 in the United States and broken it down by age, race and vaccination status,” the Centers decided not to make “most of the information public.”
According to the paper’s sources, “the agency leading the country’s response to the public health emergency has published only a tiny fraction of the data it has collected.”
Here’s the justification:
Kristen Nordlund, a spokeswoman for the C.D.C., said the agency has been slow to release the different streams of data “because basically, at the end of the day, it’s not yet ready for prime time.” She said the agency’s “priority when gathering any data is to ensure that it’s accurate and actionable.”
Nordland also told the Times that the CDC has a “fear” that the data might be “misinterpreted.”
You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth!
This, despite the fact that “much of the withheld information could help state and local health officials better target their efforts to bring the virus under control.”
The information being withheld includes booster shot data for the 18-to-49 age group, and presumably any adverse effects or complications they might have suffered.
Samuel Scarpino, managing director of pathogen surveillance at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Pandemic Prevention Institute, reminded the Times that “The C.D.C. is a political organization as much as it is a public health organization.” I think Scarpino was trying to provide a solid justification for the CDC’s — let us be gentle here — reticence. But it sounds to me more like an indictment.
How can we “follow the science” when the scientists are in thrall to politics, and mum besides?
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So guess what? I’m going to assume the worst because that’s the rational thing to do when the government hides things from the people it’s supposed to serve.
We spent a year when Donald Trump was still president having the CDC conflate what data it did make public, by mixing those who died with COVID in with those who actually died from COVID.
Somebody wanted us to be a lot more afraid of COVID than we needed to be. Once Presidentish Joe Biden was in office, the CDC finally “started carefully separating deaths from COVID from those where the deceased tested positive but died of something else.”
To make Biden’s strategy look better, of course.
But between omicron and delta, infection rates remained so high that earlier this month, Biden’s HHS stopped requiring hospitals to report COVID deaths at all.
So when it comes to COVID deaths, changing reporting standards make it impossible to compare 2020’s apples to 2021’s oranges.
Now we’re told that most of the data on vaccine safety and efficacy for younger people won’t be reported at all, or at least no time soon, for fear that us lowly proles will misinterpret it.
Trust is the public health bureaucracy’s greatest asset, even in good times. When the pandemic hits the fan, trust is needed even more.
But who can we trust, when the standards change according to political expediency and the most important information is considered too sacred for us to know?