CDC reportedly using highly flawed breakthrough infection data for basis of ‘major’ decisions

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reportedly been basing some of its “major” decisions on “outdated” and “unreliable” breakthrough infection data.

“Forty-nine states are now regularly sending CDC information on hospitalized breakthrough patients. But more than a dozen [said] that they do not have the capacity to match patients’ hospital admission data with their immunization records,” Politico reported Wednesday.

“Instead, those states rely on hospital administrators to report breakthrough infections. The resulting data is often aggregated, inaccurate and omits critical details for teasing out trends, such as which vaccine a person received and whether they have been fully vaccinated, a dozen state officials said,” the outlet added.

The result is that the CDC’s conclusions pertaining to “how rapidly the Delta variant spreads, whether it is reducing the effectiveness of vaccines and whether it causes more severe disease” may not necessarily be accurate.

“State health officials said when they are able to study the data hospitals report to them, they often find errors such as individuals with the wrong gender or age as well as missing information about vaccination status, including what type of shot the individual received and whether they have been fully vaccinated,” according to Politico.

“There is also a significant lag — sometimes more than two weeks — in reporting from states to the CDC because the hospital electronic systems do not automatically track breakthrough infections. Physicians must do it manually.”

Yet this unreliable data is reportedly being used to determine, among other things, whether Americans need booster shots.

Earlier this month, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy announced that the administration is preparing to start offering coronavirus booster shots in late September.

The announcement came several hours after World Health Organization officials issued scathing statements equating the administrating of coronavirus booster shots to handing “extra life jackets” to those already wearing one.

Scientists and researchers also complained.

“The Biden administration’s decision to start authorizing third doses of Covid-19 vaccine in September is being met with bafflement, concern, and even anger from a number of immunologists, vaccinologists, and people steeped in the normal way such decisions are made,” Stat News confirmed at the time.

“Many flat-out challenged the need for booster doses at this time. … And some worried that a decision had been made before the Food and Drug Administration had ruled on the need for a booster or a key vaccine advisory committee had evaluated the data — typically the way vaccine policy is set,” the outlet added.

Making matters worse, the CDC refuses to publicly disclose the data it’s been using to justify its dubious decisions. This particular move has reportedly even angered the White House.

“White House officials have increasingly grown frustrated with the CDC over its tendency to not share data at a time when the administration is making major pandemic policy decisions on everything from masks to school reopening, two other senior Biden officials working on the federal government’s Covid-19 response [said],” according to Politico.

This isn’t the first instance of the CDC being caught working with flawed data. Around the start of the month, The Wall Street Journal reported that flawed data was also used to justify recommending that Americans, including the vaccinated, start wearing masks indoors again.

“The CDC pointed to Provincetown, Mass., where it said large gatherings in July at bars, nightclubs and house parties led to hundreds of Covid-19 infections. More studies released over the weekend backed the CDC’s conclusion, Dr. Walensky said,” according to the Journal.

“The Provincetown data contained two startling details: nearly three-quarters of infected people were fully vaccinated, the CDC said, and samples showed that the amount of virus infected people carried—or viral load—was similar between vaccinated and unvaccinated patients. The CDC concluded from the latter that vaccinated people who become infected might spread the Delta variant as readily as the unvaccinated,” the outlet added.

However, scientists, experts, and even former CDC officials have said the data is unreliable and incorrect — as is the CDC’s conclusion.

“They’re making these decisions on the basis of extremely weak and unreliable data, and at the same time not doing the necessary work to reduce uncertainty among the population,” Vinay Prasad, a physician and professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco, told the Journal.

“When there isn’t a lot of study data, the CDC should be conducting these studies,” he added.

Unfortunately, this level of incompetence doesn’t appear to be a bug of the Biden administration — it appears to be a major feature.

Vivek Saxena

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