“Just Scandalous”: CDC Withholding Most of the Covid Data It Gathers. What Is It Trying to Hide?

Even very politically seasoned and jaded contacts are gobsmacked by the New York Times’ revelation that the CDC is not releasing most of the data it collects. As we’ll discuss shortly, this is dramatic change from the agency’s posture in previous outbreaks. And the disappeared info includes types it published earlier in the pandemic.

However, this isn’t news to our Covid brain trust. GM has been pointing out for months about how quite a few states have been playing games with their reporting, such as periodic catch up dumps, going from daily to weekly, and sometimes reports that don’t seem plausible. IM Doc described how the CDC has abandoned its role of advising practitioners on emerging symptoms and patterns of disease progress, along with local data failures which mean national one.1

It’s disappointing that the Grey Lady failed to take the obvious next step of filing a FOIA for the apparently-to-hot-to-handle details. Since the CDC has published precisely this sort of information in the past, it would not seem to have a leg to stand on faced with a legal challenge.

Key sections from the article:

For more than a year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has collected data on hospitalizations for Covid-19 in the United States and broken it down by age, race and vaccination status. But it has not made most of the information public.

When the C.D.C. published the first significant data on the effectiveness of boosters in adults younger than 65 two weeks ago, it left out the numbers for a huge portion of that population: 18- to 49-year-olds, the group least likely to benefit from extra shots, because the first two doses already left them well-protected.

The agency recently debuted a dashboard of wastewater data on its website that will be updated daily and might provide early signals of an oncoming surge of Covid cases. Some states and localities had been sharing wastewater information with the agency since the start of the pandemic, but it had never before released those findings.

Two full years into the pandemic, the agency leading the country’s response to the public health emergency has published only a tiny fraction of the data it has collected, several people familiar with the data said.

Much of the withheld information could help state and local health officials better target their efforts to bring the virus under control. Detailed, timely data on hospitalizations by age and race would help health officials identify and help the populations at highest risk. Information on hospitalizations and death by age and vaccination status would have helped inform whether healthy adults needed booster shots. And wastewater surveillance across the nation would spot outbreaks and emerging variants early….

The performance of vaccines and boosters, particularly in younger adults, is among the most glaring omissions in data the C.D.C. has made public.

Last year, the agency repeatedly came under fire for not tracking so-called breakthrough infections in vaccinated Americans, and focusing only on individuals who became ill enough to be hospitalized or die. The agency presented that information as risk comparisons with unvaccinated adults, rather than provide timely snapshots of hospitalized patients stratified by age, sex, race and vaccination status..

If you see the second part of the footnote at the end of this post, the CDC does not in fact have accurate data on vaccinated v. unvaccinated status. It is entirely absent in IM Doc’s state. He is listed as unvaccinated (the apparent default) despite multiple attempts to get his record corrected. He also has many Covid patients in his hospital listed as unvaccinated who were in fact vaccinated and in some cases boosted. I can’t think his state is the only one.

It sure looks like the CDC thinks its just fine to give doctors and the public the mushroom treatment in the interest of narrative control and shielding the CDC from criticism when its information quality is poor. But unpleasant truths, like the much-shorter-than-hoped duration of vaccine-induced immunity, has gotten through anyhow thanks to reporting from countries that are competent at data collection, such as Israel. The article offers other excuses, like “The public might misuse the information!” and “The info from states isn’t always so hot.” Re the latter, gee, why weren’t you offering to help? Last I checked, the CDC has 32,000 employees. Surely a few could be tasked to help out particular states?

The article points out that the CDC has data for only 10% (of adults?) and it uses this sort of sampling for influenza data. But what kind of sampling methodology omits an entire state?

The reality is that the officials don’t like what the data shows. As GM has repeatedly pointed out, after 10 weeks, the efficacy of boosters even against serious cases drops to below 50%, which is too low a level to be very protective. Yet the European Medicines agency has advised against multiple boosters in a year due to the risk of overtaxing the immune system.

The CDC and FDA have backed themselves in a corner by recommending only vaccines as a Covid defense and continuing to depict masks as an imposition that is necessary only in surges. So data that shows that the vaccines are not terribly effective against Omicron and Omicron BA.2, by admitting that there are vaccinated and boosted individuals who wound up in the hospital, is something they can’t afford to acknowledge. So instead they have pre-positioned the blame cannons so that pointing out the (now considerable under new variants) limitations of the vaccines is smeared as being anti-vaxx.

Then we have patently ridiculous statements like this:

Relying on Israeli data to make booster recommendations for Americans was less than ideal, Dr. Offit noted. Israel defines severe disease differently than the United States, among other factors.

“There’s no reason that they should be better at collecting and putting forth data than we were,” Dr. Offit said of Israeli scientists. “The C.D.C. is the principal epidemiological agency in this country, and so you would like to think the data came from them.”

Huh? First, Israel is a country of nine million people with universal health coverage, even of permanent residents. So they have centralized data gathering. The US has the primary responsibility for public health at the state level. Second, in the US, health care is about money, not health. I was shocked at how long it took my mother, me, and our aide to get vaccinated because the pharmacy had trouble working out how to bill for my shot, and even more so for my mother’s. So why should we be any good at health metrics when that isn’t a priority?

Yet they have the temerity to call themselves “the premier public health agency in the world.” The CDC is running on brand fumes. As IM Doc noted about this story in comments yesterday:

A little bit of history –

When America first found out about AIDS – it was from the MMWR – Mortality & Morbidity Weekly Report – that has been published by the CDC for decades. This was also the tabulation source during the AIDS crisis of all of the other issues going on from PCP pneumonia to toxoplasma of the brain to all the cancers going on in AIDS patients. The CDC was all over it. The same can be said of ZIKA, West Nile Virus, and countless others. Our CDC was the envy of the world. They worked in total transparency and published all their numbers very quickly.

It is important to note how vitally important that information was for clinicians on the ground during AIDS. It gave us some kind of perspective on problems, their prevalence, and sharing treatment ideas.

This has been one of the most notable failures of the CDC this time – the MMWR may as well be parrot cage liner. They have not been sharing complete information from the beginning about hospitalizations, deaths, vaccine issues, you name it.

For those of us who are veterans – it has been a striking difference. And the tragedy is Dr. Walensky was so vocal early on about how she was going to work on getting the statistics and epidemiologic wings of the CDC up to their former glory.

And from scientist GM:

No surprise whatsoever, other than that this is even discussed in the NYT.

How many vaccinated people are dying is a closely guarded secret at the federal level, and only a few states are releasing that information locally.

I met someone recently who works in the tech world doing quite advanced stuff, and he genuinely thought that 99% of the people who are dying are unvaccinated.

In reality for very recent time periods (i.e. deep into the Omicron wave) I have only seen numbers for Israel, UK, WA, and MA and the majority of people dying now, 50% to 80%, are in fact vaccinated.

But even quite highly educated people who are not following things closely are completely delusional about the situation. Partly because the propaganda has worked very well, partly because their critical thinking skills are apparently not very well developed, because alarms should be immediately ringing in one’s mind when he sees all the double and triple vaxxed people in their 20s and 30s getting absolutely hammered by Omicron all around him and yet the claims are that nobody vaccinated is dying. That is simply impossible from first principles — VE [vaccine effectiveness] went down the drain even with respect to quite nasty illness in young healthy people, but somehow it is still at 99% against death in the elderly with serious comorbidities? That is just absurd…

The problem is that when people point out that so many vaccinated people are dying, the mob descends on them, calling them antivaxxers.

Thus nobody has actually even dared say the complete truth, which is that we actually have **thousands** vaccinated dying every day in the US. It is always mentioned as **hundreds**. But it was 58% of the dead being vaccinated in MA the last time I saw numbers, and MA is a highly vaccinated state, but not UK-level highly vaccinated, so I doubt it is less than 35-40% currently anywhere in the country and the average is at minimum at that too.

Officially deaths peaked at 2,600 a day this winter.

But, we know excess deaths have been running at 20-25% higher throughout the pandemic because of insufficient testing and outright faked death certificates. So make that 3,000 in reality.

Also, last year there were many big data dumps months after the winter wave passed, that overall added some 20K deaths. This year reporting has been much more irregular and many states have been moving towards not reporting at all in real time. So the safe bet is that there will both be even bigger data dumps in the coming months and that the discrepancy between official and excess deaths is higher and will keep increasing.

So 3,000 a day in total is the minimum, while I would not at all be surprised if the actual number crossed 4,000 at the peak and that we are at more than 3,000 a day even now.

But let’s take it to be 3,000, 35% of that is 1,000 dead a day, 50% of it is 1,500.

That these numbers are probably correct is also corroborated by the data from Israel — Israel actually releases that information and hey have had most of their deaths in the vaccinated in this wave (and “vaccinated” there means three doses, not two, when you add those in the “expired” category, it gets to 70-80% of all deaths). They peaked in this wave at levels equivalent to over 3,000 dead a day in the US. Vaccination rates are somewhat comparable, i.e. Israel is not UK-level, everyone-vulnerable-with-at-least-two-and-most-with-three-shots because of the religious factor.

The UK itself peaked at the equivalent of 1500 dead a day in the US and 80% of those were vaccinated, so even if vaccination in the US had been at comparable levels, the US would have had over 1000 vaccinated dying every day.

Recall that in summer 2020, before we had vaccines, the US peak was at 1,200 a day. And that was a tragedy back then. Now we are above that just within the vaccinated and it is almost completely covered up.

And now it has all been declared over, which means that boosting will be forgotten as a concern even further, and the next variant will be met with no NPIs and vaccines that have faded to very low levels of protection among much of the population….

Here we are. The eagerness of American elites to maintain their illusion of competence is digging our collective Covid hole even deeper. And even though treated-as-if-they-are-dispensable essential workers and the elderly will fare worst, it’s not as if those at the top of the food chain will escape unscathed. But by the time enough of them individually get wake-up calls so as to puncture their collective denial, it will be too late to change course. It is already too late now.

1 Some IM Doc doozies. From August:

I was informed today by the Health Dept that they have absolutely zero way of tracking correctly vaccinated cases. In that they do not have the ability to retrospectively find out which vaccination the person has had. So there is no way the CDC will be having this kind of detail, unless other states are doing this. I seriously kind of doubt it. It is now looking more and more that it is going to be up to local physicians like myself.

And November:

When you have been doing this as long as I have, you have a memory of what happened before and with that comes certain expectations about what should be happening now. I think that is what separates the older than 55 crowd from the under 40 crowd.

We do not even have to go back to AIDS. I am thinking of the last 2 events in my career where there was exceptional involvement from the CDC. In 2018, we had the vaping crisis. In 2012 or thereabouts, we had the West Nile issue. Although that virus had been with us since 2001 here in the USA, it really exploded in the summer of 2012 in the Deep South in the USA. I will not include the 2014 Ebola problem. The CDC was very involved there but that never really had to be taken nationally, these other 2 examples did.

In both cases, there was frequent, at times weekly updating from the CDC about treatment options and guidelines. There was intense discussion of what seemed to be working and what did not. In both cases, these treatment options were obviously non-approved for these purposes by the FDA. There was a crisis, and this is what we have available, and this is how you should be using them. This is what works. This is what does not work. And this is our evidence why we feel the way we do. This was constant from the CDC in both cases.

That has simply not happened at all in COVID. Here we are 2 years into this. There is not a single shred of treatment advice from the CDC outside of the inpatient setting. Let’s face it – most antiviral efforts have to be done immediately. That would mean where I work in an outpatient setting is the golden hour. If we wait till the patients are in the hospital they are going to have much worse outcomes. The agencies are saying nothing about outpatient therapy and have put forth nothing. We have worldwide studies on fluvoxamine, ivermectin, HCQ, steroids, VIT D, VIT C, Zinc, and I am sure there are many others. We now have monoclonal AB. A question – have you ever heard Dr. Fauci discuss monoclonal AB in a positive way? If you have please show it to me.

There has been no guidance at all about any of these therapy options. There has been lots of censoring, hectoring, belittling, and confusion. It is unusual to find a physician willing to engage any of these therapies, despite some of them having overwhelming positive signals in early outpatient therapy.

There is not ONE single bullet. By now, 2 years into this we should be throwing all kinds of things at these patients – anti-virals, anti-clotting agents, anti-inflammatory agents. But we are doing nothing.

Again, our CDC has done nothing to help with this at all. NOTHING. Not only the CDC. In previous events, there was treatment advice flowing from medical schools around the country. CRICKETS.

We have gone all in on the vaccine approach and have done so from the beginning.

Now, the bill is due. My office is literally flooding with vaxxed and boosted patients that are very ill. We are in a precarious situation with the hospitals of America. They are in much worse shape employee-wise than many Americans would dare dream.

I feel all alone. I feel it is my sworn job to keep as many of these people safe and out of the hospital as possible. But there is literally no help from the CDC at all VAX VAX VAX. Here is the problem – about 85% of these patients in my practice that are now positive and getting sicker by the day are already VAXED Many of them boostered. We are in the middle of a crisis with the hospitals – and we simply cannot fill them up the way we have.

I have never felt so shat on professionally in my life. I am having to weave together treatment protocols from multiple sources. And hope for the best that we can survive.

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  1. LawnDart

    When the C.D.C. published the first significant data on the effectiveness of boosters in adults younger than 65 two weeks ago, it left out the numbers for a huge portion of that population: 18- to 49-year-olds, the group least likely to benefit from extra shots, because the first two doses already left them well-protected.


    Is Pravda the journalistic standard they aspire to?

    1. Billy

      No. Pravda was propaganda backstopped by a non-profit, power concentrating world.
      What we have here is a profit driven, power concentrating world of bullshit. This is the most key phrase in what Yves wrote:
      “The reality is that the officials don’t like what the data shows.”

      BTW, The CDC defines unvaccinated as any one who got no shot, or those who got one shot and a booster, and before 14 days have passed.

      Nice way to pump up the numbers of those who died “unvaccinated.”

      Footnote 75 Public health investigations of COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough cases, CDC,

      page 2 Case definition
      For the purpose of this investigation, a vaccine breakthrough case will be defined as a U.S. resident who has SARS-CoV-2 RNA or antigen detected on a respiratory specimen collected ≥14 days after completing the primary series of an FDA-authorized SARS-CoV-2 vaccine.

  2. Fazal Majid

    Israel is also nowhere near as diverse as the US. If some sub-populations are extremely susceptible to Covid, e.g. for the sake of argument carriers of the sickle-cell anemia gene, it would be important to know so treatment can be prioritized and better targeted.

    A big part of the problem is the US’ federal structure, and many states deliberately sabotaged reporting for political reasons, and not just on the Red State side, e.g. Cuomo’s deliberate under-reporting of nursing home deaths to hide his responsibility in that scandal.

    And then of course there is the stonewalling on the Wuhan lab leak hypothesis, because the careers of many higher-ups including Fauci are entangled in it.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Yes, but then the CDC presents the data it does have as accurate, without caveating it.

      As for Israel, arguably as big an element in its result is that it is a Pfizer monoculture. And there are plenty of countries that are “not diverse” like Denmark that have good reporting and show outcomes similar to Israel (arguably less so, Israel has immigrants from all over Europe as well as Israelis of Semitic descent). I can’t find good data on sickle cell anemia in Israel, which suggests it is not as prevalent as you suggest.

      And the last comment has nothing to do with CDC not releasing data on health outcomes. This is all about having painted themselves in a corner with their “vax vax vax” strategy and almost entirely ignoring NPIs.

      1. BlakeFelix

        I don’t know about sickle cell anemia prevelance in Israel, African is what I associate it with, but I think that they might be referring to the fact that a half dose of the gene causing it can be protective against malaria, IIRC.

  3. ArkansasAngie

    Personally … I want people to apologize for accusing me and others of being conspiracy nuts. We aren’t crazy. Questioning their numbers was in fact the smart thing to do.

    Release the data and fire the the yahoos who came up with “let’s lie to the American public”.

    Gee …. do you think they have lied about other things?

    1. Billy

      When private profits to political donors are involved, you can assume that the U.S. government is lying to the public, until proven otherwise.

      Sort of the inverse of
      “Only believe a rumor after the government denies it.”

  4. Patrick Donnelly

    Meanwhile, the Great Theft continues … printing money for the speculators who extract ‘their’ profits into farming and housing …. yet prices are rising all the time now … who’d a thunk it?

  5. Gumnut

    Denmark sitrep:


    – 243k total cases the last 7days: 24k unvaxxed, 219k vaxxed = 10% : 90%

    – unvaxxed people have extra-incentive to get tested to get EU QR-code
    – DK has been ‘open’ for over 2 weeks (i.e. long enough that enforced behavioral difference from restrictions don’t play into this data)
    – this trend (that vaxxed Danes are significantly overrepsented in cases has been unbroken from start of Omikron in late Nov. On average 50-100% more likely, on aggregate numbers.
    – distribution vax:unvaxxed is fairly even across all ages.
    – population vax rate: 84%.
    – both 2x and boosted 3x population have 25%-60% higher incident numbers than the unvaxxed. Only the within 14 days of injection (= currently 99% freshly reboosted) are 20% less likely than unvaxxed to be infected

    Hospitalisations: 2600 the last 7 days, 390 unvaxxed, rest vaxxed = 15:85%

    In DK booth vax & hospitalisation are unambiguous as EVERYTHING is on your CPR (central people’s registry) number.

  6. jackiebass63

    A crises is a good way to control people. The government will milk this crises for as long as they can get away with it. We are living in the world described in Orwells 1984. This isn’t partisan. Both political parties use the same M.O.

  7. none

    I repeat myself but I love the quote (wish I could remember whose) that CDC stands for Can’t Disrupt Commerce

  8. jefemt

    The lack of rigor is jaw-dropping. I recall very early on when tests and vaxxes were first becoming available, a nurse friend discounting the need for testing, tracking , data gathering. The vax was a panacea: why bother?
    She works in a corporate medical mill that has consolidated into a monopoly ‘healthcare’ in our micropolitan.
    I am sure she was repeating and towing the local medical mind, which obviously was backed by a national approach. Made no sense then, makes no sense now. Especially for a profession based on science. Was..now the dollar is it..

    No Lives Matter. They Really Are Trying To Kill Us.

    The socioeconomic, trust, values, psychological, and political damage that has been wrought is stunning.

    Covid has presented such an opportunity to re-examine everything, from soup to nuts.
    Well, it isn’t going anywhere, and maybe, just maybe, it may yet prompt us to deliver the lemons into lemonade and let our species finally rise up to its unrealized potential as man kind.

    Excellent post that will be shared. Thank you!

    1. LowellHighlander

      RE: “Covid has presented such an opportunity to re-examine everything, from soup to nuts.”

      That’s just it: Nothing fundamental, I’m afraid, gets re-examined when a state becomes a failed state.

  9. Martin Oline

    Thanks for this Ives. I didn’t see the IM Doc comment yesterday and would have missed it.
    I think the CDC is actively hiding the data possibly under orders. The top people know enough to be scared of the effects of revelation. The employees have probably thrown in the towel. Many are counting the days and hoping to take early retirement as their chances for re-employment are slim. There are several types of jobs with high stress levels. The largest stress comes from having to deal with the effects of something and having no control over the event. They are usually thought of as Air Traffic Controllers and Quality Control type jobs. It is possible the CDC doesn’t share the data of this epidemic with the public because another government agency with a much bigger budget is eagerly tracking the spread and mutation. For these people it has been a wonderful and exciting two years. Well, they are working for the advancement of science.
    I never had a chance to completely finish The Dawn Of Everything because it was a library book with a short term. The authors say neolithic people probably made many stabs at ‘civilization’ and continually abandoned it for hunter gathering. I wondered while reading it about the affect of germs on early cities. It also could be slightly more advanced ‘alchemists’ did them in instead.

    1. TimH

      There’s the ancient Ghandi quote where he was asked what he thought of Western civilisation. His response was that he thought that it was a good idea.

  10. thoughtful person

    Thank you for your thoughts IM Doc. Your not alone here at least!

    There was an article recently, I think by Dan Ford, that mentioned some things be believed helped with long covid. IIRC vit D, Zinc, probiotic (he mentioned l. plantarum i think), and some other stuff I forget. Anyway if you have covid probably good to begin these asap.

    Of course avoiding covid is ideal. I’ve been my fathers companion on multiple trips to a top hospital in NC recently. I’ve noticed most of the MDs are now wearing n95 masks, not just the flimsy surgical masks most nurses still have. Meanwhile in his skilled nursing facility they’re all now wearing n95 masks. While I’ve seen some stats around saying most Americans do want everyone to wear masks in public, I think that norm is fading quickly.

    Thus we’ll be even less prepared for the coming waves than we have been previously. BA2 is likely the next wave, here now and increasing. I’ve read, more infectious than Omicron by 50% while being worse than Delta as far as outcome.

    The silver lining might be that airborne disease season (aka flu) is nearing its end for 2021- 22 in the northern hemisphere. Maybe here in the Us, just the states that are usually at risk in the Summer (TX, FL) will be most affected. Of course if we no longer care about counting cases, the only metrics will be some bump up in hospital admissions, and the funerals.

    Perhaps the new care method is psychological, afterall we do have to learn to live with the virus right? Personally I think I prefer the Chinese approach – it involves more living!

    If we go by my favorite maxim, “watch what they do, not what they say”, it really does appear like some extreme dystopian approach has permeated the minds of our leaders and the Jackpot is underway. Targeting the poor first of course.

  11. flora

    Thanks for this post. Not publishing the data? Hiding the data which for other diseases was tracked and published? I’ve got a bad feeling about this….

    Adjusting my bonnet (I can’t even say foil anymore, I’m out of foil):/
    The indemnification of pharma companies from liability during an EUA authorization goes away if fraud can be proved. I’m not saying there’s fraud on the part of pharma. I am saying that hiding the data makes it impossible to prove one way or the other. Not a good look for the CDC to look like they’re protecting pharma investors’ profits instead of public health. My 2 cents.
    /removes bonnet

  12. QuarterBack

    So data that shows that the vaccines are not terribly effective against Omicron and Omicron BA.2, by admitting that there are vaccinated and boosted individuals who wound up in the hospital, is something they can’t afford to acknowledge.

    Consider the difficult to hide circumstance of Queen Elizabeth. It is unimaginable to conceive that protocols that prohibit direct eye contact of monarchs would allow anyone in the same building as the Queen without being vaccinated, boosted, AND regularly tested. This would almost certainly extend to servants performing duties when she is not even present. Despite all known official precautions, she was still infected.

          1. thoughtful person

            You see, the elite have access to *the very best* care, whatever that may be (constant testing at home, Pfizer pills, if needed, immediately….) They’ve also been triple or quad vaxxed, so it is not so risky perhaps for one of them to appear in a large airy theater??

  13. The Rev Kev

    I think that the situation is a lot worse than at first look. Hiding data is one thing as I suppose that some politicians feel that by controlling the release of information, it is a form of power. But here we are seeing the actually machinery meant to capture this vital information being degraded or ignored. And what that means it that if there is a more severe variant or even another disease that comes rocking along, that the US will be going into this blind and have little idea of the severity or where they should be looking. You know that somebody is benefiting, whether for financial or political reasons, but already with the present pandemic the cost is excessive. And I don’t think that the overlords in DC realize how destructive to society a severe outbreak of disease can be.

    1. anon y'mouse

      if you don’t (or can’t?) count it, then does it count? this is just another of the latest rounds of “don’t ask, don’t tell”.

      this somewhat reminds me of when i learned a few years back that no official federal level office was gathering statistics on how many people are killed by police. there were a few public watchdog groups doing it, mainly the extremely tedious way by combing news reports. this of course means that even those carefully gleaned stats are an underreport.

      amazing that this number wouldn’t be to hand for some or even many reasons, but “decentralization” hides many sins.

    2. Medbh

      It seems like the only dependable data left is excess deaths and wastewater, but excess deaths doesn’t help you proactively change behavior because the information arrives after the threat. What about wastewater? Can they detect new variants using wastewater, or do they have to know what to “look for” first?

  14. MT_Wild

    I’ve been warning my friends that the biggest impact from covid has yet to be seen. And as covered here at NC, the long-term impacts from living with covid is what we all should be fearing.

    I wonder if some of that information is already showing up in the datasets they won’t release?

  15. Tom Stone

    If someone had deliberately decided to destroy the CDC they could not have done a better job.

    This is a systemically critical system that depended on trust to function, destroy that trust and piss away the credibility built up over decades and there’s nothing left.
    The depraved indifference of America’s elites is not a surprise, the resounding incompetence and profound stupidity is.

    If you destroy civil society what you end up with isn’t very civil,or safe.
    For anyone.

    1. David in Santa Cruz

      Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Basura, our recently departed California Attorney General, is going to be all over this!

      In USA!USA!, where 100 percent of the citizenry are above average, it’s all about managing your image if you want to get ahead — and isn’t getting ahead of your peers the true meaning of life? Things like “statistics” and “facts” only get in the way of each of us maintaining our rightful places in that top percentile of humanity.

      We don’t need better results — we just need better PR.

    2. lambert strether

      Note that Klain was Ebola Czar back under Obama. So either the rot set in under Obama, and Klain said nothing, or the rot set in under the former guy, and Klain said nothing then and did nothing for a year under Biden.

      I incline to the former, since every detail in the Times story points to bone-deep institutional dysfunction, which shuffling political appointees would not produce.

  16. Mikel

    “For more than a year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has collected data on hospitalizations for Covid-19 in the United States and broken it down by age, race and vaccination status. But it has not made most of the information public.”

    I mention this part because the crucial employment status/occupation has always been more critical than even race to report. This is an airborne disease and it would be key to establishing ventilation protocols that would address the spread better than half-assed shots do not.

    The concern by these authorities is not public health. The decisions are not based on science. So go to business press to see what they are really pushing for:


    My note: they can only BS so much about commercial real estate values…


    “During Super Bowl LVI, viewers witnessed dozens of celebrities, politicians and athletes not wearing their masks….
    “This signals that companies have the green light to bring back workers…”

    And all this push just in time for rising gasoline prices caused by another manufactured crisis by the DC crew.

    These f”ers are shameless.

      1. JBird4049

        So, like some people do, the CDC refuses to recommend changing the oil and the fuel filter because it cost more money right now instead of thinking about the engine blowing up in several years?

        I guess being so educated and credentialed they must know what they are doing.

        1. Objective Ace

          But it costs other people money down the road (the poor uneducated masses) rather then the sanctimonious 0.01 percenters who would be on the hook for any cost now. They know what theyre doing. The 0.01 percenters are who pays their budgets, either directly or indirectly through political donations/favors

  17. meadows

    If the CDC was doing an excellent job of tracking, reporting, informing and encouraging any and all possible approaches to the pandemic…. gosh it might become obvious that our so-called “health system” was a failure and we needed to have a true public health system. If the truth sets you free, falsehoods enslave, then obfuscation must bewilder!

  18. truly

    Asking for a friend- re Israel data showing death amongst the vaccinated:
    If a population is 95% vaccinated and it is reported that 80% of deaths are amongst the vaccinated, could it be argued that the vaccine is still minimally helpful? It seems if the vaccine had ZERO effect at all, in a population 95% vaccinated then 95% of deaths would be amongst the vaccinated.

    1. hickory

      I believe that’s true, except that vaxxed and unvaxxed don’t necessarily behave the same. An unvaxxed person w/severe immune issues that make vaccines too dangerous would be super cautious. A vaxxed person who believed they were bullet proof would be different than someone who believed in covid but didn’t trust pharma. An unvaxxed person who thought the whole thing was a hoax would be less cautious than a fully vaxxed very fearful person.

      So there’s a lot of noise, but generally I think your math is right.

    2. jeff

      In some ways, this is THE question to be asked. If we know that the gap to which you’re referring represents a particular category of risk (obesity, lung disease, diabetes, etc.), wouldn’t that info be helpful for those in that population? Or what those in that category can do to protect themselves.

      Ironically, it might change some people’s risk self-assessment for taking the vaccine or not. The very thing CDC wants.

      1. Skunk

        Perhaps the data shows significant racial disparities in care outcomes. It could be a reason it hasn’t been fully published.

    3. Yves Smith Post author

      Back in July, case counts (and I believe hospitalizations too) were proportional in Israel among vavved and unvaxxed, even stratified by age. Since vaccinations had started early in Israel (Jan-Feb), this meant efficacy had waned even faster than pessimists had thought.

      The issues, as we stressed, is the immune system cost of staying current on these vaccines (being vaccinated 3-4X a year) is likely to be too high via creating immune system exhaustion.

      1. Joe Well

        Would getting COVID multiple times stress the immune system even worse?

        Of course, the third alternative is not getting COVID. Just curious about the biology.

        1. Objective Ace

          Of course it would, but how many people have had Covid 4 times in the past year? And Israel is still having Covid breakthroughs despite having been vaxxed that many times

      2. arte

        Caught between a rock and a hard place, if a recurring COVID infection creates a stronger version of immune system exhaustion than a vaccine. “Super immunity” indeed.

    4. GM

      That the vaccine is “working” statistically does not mean it has actually solved any problem in real life.

      If we had a vaccine that is 95% effective against dying from Ebola but had no effect on stopping spread, would that make it possible to have a rampant Ebola epidemic and still go on a doorknob licking and corpse hugging spree all around town?

      Of course not, because then we just take the IFR from 70% to 3%, and among the other 97% we probably have a good 30-40% left with a crippling post-viral syndrome (LongCOVID is the junior version of the post-SARS syndrome which in turn is surpassed by the seriousness of the post-Ebola one).

      Same thing here. The fact is that Israel’s hospitals were flooded with patients and more people died than ay any point prior to that in the pandemic. That is not success by any reasonable definition.

      The main use of vaccines has not been to prevent suffering from the pandemic, it has been to justify abandoning all efforts to stop the spread.

      1. ChrisRUEcon

        > The main use of vaccines has not been to prevent suffering from the pandemic, it has been to justify abandoning all efforts to stop the spread.

        Or my rather morbid example: what if HIV were airborne? Same playbook?

        Boris Johnson: “We simply have to live with HIV. Just look at the Queen, she’s got it … and she’s graciously going about her duties!”

    5. PhillippaTryndal

      All I’ve been reading about the situation in Israel, says that it’s mostly the older (over 60) partially vaccinated and unvaccinated that are still the main cause of problems and hospitalizations. Likewise, the lack of current, up-to-date vaccinations/boosters against the Omicron variant has caused problems for younger people too. I’m not seeing a failure of FULL vaccinations at all, beyond basic efficacy. If you have that data, then please link to it.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        First, you provide no evidence substantiating your claims, yet you demand it of others.

        The data in Israel in fact as of July (and we did link to it repeatedly here, in posts and comments), showed that contagion and hospitalization in Israel, stratified by age, were proportional to vax levels. That meant effectively no benefit with Delta, which had become dominant by then, from Pfizer 5-6 months after having been jabbed (Israel had most of its vaccinations in those months)

        As for Omicron, your statement makes no sense. Omicron evades current vaccines. Even getting Omicron is not protective, there are many documented cases of reinfections within a month. BA.2 is more contagious and likely more pathogenic than original Omicron, and is structurally different enough that a vaccine tuned for original Omicron (even assuming it would work, see reinfection issue), would not be very effective v. BA.2. There were cases in the early cluster in Oslo of fully vaxxed and boosted cases contracting the disease. Basically it appears all the boosters do is have some impact if they are fresh (<10 weeks) in reducing hospitalization, and even that isn't a given (IM Doc has had cases wind up in his hospital that were recently boosted).

        And you further ignore that merely getting Covid, even a mild or asymptomatic case, ages your immune system (see https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-5-3UDIc6pbJKl_swdhVZT0I6PNzN_jqKpQ_d8G01b8/mobilebasic), so the idea that getting Covid but not winding up in the hospital is a good outcome is false. Similarly, there is also evidence that the vaccines do not protect you from long Covid (see https://donford.substack.com/p/riskoflongcovid).

  19. BeliTsari

    This is not only terrifying, apropos active infection & breakthrough by new variants, being intentionally covered up, obfuscated or spun. The notion that PASC symptoms, now becoming comorbiduties, so CDC can pretend multiple infections (they’ve EXPOSED us to) are preexisting conditions, so all breakthrough “serious illness” debilitating PASC & inflammatory circulatory damage (occuring >5 days after any cursory test) is all OUR problem? We’d only learned about long COVID symptoms by stumbling across studies aggregated by “Health Agencies” or academic studies based upon CDC data. With our government CONCEALING taxpayer funded reports, studies… and social networking all censoring free exchange of apocrypha, appearing contradictory to industry think-tank PR hand-outs, we’re on our own.

  20. Curious

    Anyone know where we could view the aforementioned Israel numbers that show most of the deaths in this wave have been the vaxxed? Or the UK numbers?

    1. BeliTsari

      I’d thought, the interesting thing about Israel’s high breakthrough morbidity/ negligible efficacy of 2nd boosters was, the stunning comparison with mask wearing, NPI, testing & tracing policies, like Korea? The issue was: pretending vaccination-only/ Let ‘er RIP protocols forced poor, uninsured gig-workers to highly exposed workplaces, without sick-pay or childcare; frequently infecting entire households?




  21. Nikkikat

    I saw this story too Flora, seems like they sure as heck are hiding something. They are proving those of us that have found them suspect are probably right. All this pandemic to endemic crap the media has been running is coming directly from Govt. I think this will prove to be a disaster. We will not have enough information to with which to protect ourselves as we have had to do already.
    Fauci and the CDC have lied about dozens of things already.

  22. DanP66

    As someone who worked at the CDC for about 18 months on two data projects…yeah…not surprised.

    Fundamentally…here is our problem.

    When science is funded by politicians, then when science and political need collide, politics will win out.

    When science if funded by corporations, then when science and the corporate bottom line collide, you can be sure the science will come to magically be in line with the corporate financial interest.

    1. Skunk

      My impression is exactly the same. I didn’t work at CDC, but I conducted research there on emerging infectious disease surveillance. They know what they’re doing. The experts at CDC in this field are highly qualified (a typical team member might have a PhD in epidemiology plus an MD or veterinary medicine degree). The actual experts in emerging infectious disease would never have made the
      amateurish mistakes we’ve seen. In my opinion, the response must have been directed by politicians.

  23. Susan the other

    I’ve read blips about India starting a prosecution for genocide at the ICC against the big Pharma companies and vaccine pushers like Gates and Fauci. But no official reporting in any media. My question is, Why can India put together an actual legal/criminal case against these perps when we can’t even get useful data from the CDC? Imo, this whole debacle now belongs in court. In the Hague. And in the absence of accurate data, or any data, it might not be that difficult to at least prove something like criminal negligence. At least a great deal of info could be gained in discovery. And the utter incompetence of the whole circus exposed. New regulations for future responsibility could then go forward. Because the status quo is blatantly unacceptable.

    1. Susan the other

      Never mind the fact that we in the US do not recognize the ICC. The rest of the world does. It will be one more move to isolate us and contain us so we cannot harm the rest of the planet.

    2. Basil Pesto

      I’ve read blips about India starting a prosecution for genocide at the ICC against the big Pharma companies and vaccine pushers like Gates and Fauci. But no official reporting in any media. My question is, Why can India put together an actual legal/criminal case against these perps when we can’t even get useful data from the CDC?

      sorry but, what are you talking about? anything more than blips?

  24. orlbucfan

    The American Deathcare System is already a disaster which is getting worse. What do you expect out of an excessively greedy, stupid mindset? A bit off-topic now. Does anyone know how long it takes for symptoms to appear once someone (vaxxed/unvaxxed) contracts the disease? Thanks!

  25. Trainer

    This obfuscation is likely occurring because drug companies need to pay off the debt they used to finance vaccine production.

    Building and equipping a facility to manufacture COVID vaccines, or to process COVID tests, likely requires borrowing against some estimate of each facilities future revenues. These COVID related revenue projections will probably undercount in the near term, when there is a crucial need for vaccines or testing, and overcount in the long term, when everyone already has all the vaccines or testing they need.

    This creates a dilemma for management. If the facility owners would save all their outsize near term profits, in anticipation of the eventual drop-off, then financing these facilities over five or ten years would be no problem. If the facility owners get greedy and pocket the outsize near term profits, and ignore the eventual drop-off, then financing these facilities over five or ten years will be a problem.

    My guess is that management has chosen to pocket all their short term profits. Which is why they now pressure government to obfuscate vaccine efficacy data, and advocate many inappropriate vaccine policies, in order to increase future vaccination and testing.

    1. tegnost

      FTA…”In the case of vaccines in general, the government often plays an outsized role, but in the era of COVID-19 the government’s role was even more central than usual. The government essentially removed the bulk of traditional industry risks related to vaccine development: a) scientific failures, b) failures to demonstrate safety and efficacy, c) manufacturing risks; and d) market risks related to low demand. ”

      FTA…”Despite a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases and deaths across the developing world, Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna have sold over 90 percent of their vaccines so far to rich countries, charging up to 24 times the potential cost of production.”
      but yeah I totally agree about the pocketing short term profits part, SOP and all…

        1. tegnost

          existing infrastructure. Pfizer did not get paid in march 2020 then go build a facility, it was already there.

          Apparently they have 42 facilities globally, 10 of which are in the US

          And they did not start til after they signed a deal with the gov so it’s money in the bank, zero risk to pfizer. Plus the EUA to enact a risk free drug trial on the US population. How much did they make this year?
          And no, gov’s are not the primary customers, they’re the primary funders

  26. Parker Dooley

    Question for the brain trust:

    Is it possible to determine whether a person who has been vaccinated has had (“asymptomatic”) covid, either before or after vaccination?

    I am wondering if testing for IGg against the nucleocapsid protein or accessory proteins might be a possiblity. I am assuming that no Abs against the N protein, etc. are engendered by mRNA vaccination (maybe not true for inactivated or adenovector vaccines).

  27. Roxan

    I asked my GP if she could do a test to see if I’d had a light case of Covid, but she said there was no way to distinguish between the antibodies from having had the vax and actual Covid. I was unable to find a test at the time but now, two months later, I’ve lost all sense of taste so I guess I did.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      That is false. From GM:

      The RNA, vector, and Novavax vaccines only have the S protein, so if you have anti-N antibodies, you have been infected.

      The inverse is no longer reliably true — if you don’t have anti-N antibodies, that does not mean you have not been infected — because it has been two years now and some people who were infected early on have seroreverted.

      If you had an inactivated vaccine (which has the whole virus) there is no way to distinguish. But nobody in Europe and the US has been given such a vaccine

      Your infection was presumably recent, so you could have been tested.

  28. frank scott

    this is shocking, given that normally, info about poverty, homelessness, crime brought about by same, the money we spend on warfare and petcare while hundreds of thousands of humans live, sleep and die on the street, etc are normally shouted and screamed from the rooftops of Capital.

  29. flug

    A question – have you ever heard Dr. Fauci discuss monoclonal AB in a positive way? If you have please show it to me.

    Er, OK.

    This took exactly 0.1 seconds of googling – not exactly obscure.

    This quote is via via Becker’s Hospital Review. There are plenty more where this came from.

    Monoclonal antibodies are a “much underutilized intervention” for COVID-19, the White House’s Chief Medical Adviser Anthony Fauci, MD, said during an Aug. 24 briefing.

    Dr. Fauci encouraged hospitals and physicians to make greater use of the therapy during the briefing.

    “We want people out there, including physicians as well as potential patients, to realize the advantage of this very effective way of treating early infection,” Dr. Fauci said. “Clinical trials have demonstrated that early treatment with anti-SARS-CoV-2 monoclonal antibodies can reduce the risk of COVID-19 hospitalization or death by 70 [percent] to 85 percent.”

  30. LAS

    New York City has a large health department and has been collecting and publishing its data on its website. It shows that break through cases, hospitalizations, and deaths rose during the Omicron surge for both vaccinated and unvaccinated residents. However, it also shows a powerful protective effect still prevailed from being vaccinated as opposed to not being with respect to case, hospitalization, and death rates — with death rates being of particular interest. During the week of 1/8/2022, the death rate per 100,000 among vaccinated was 4.01 compared to a rate of 77.07 per 100,000 among the unvaccinated.

    My experience with NYC is that it is generally a very vigilant data collector and pretty much every vaccine given is entered into 2 separate central databases: one for the state and one for the city. It is an obnoxious redundancy in fact. Maybe privately administered vaccinations are slower to be entered but we do not have the problems described by IM Doc.

    I would be interested in the states that are not good reporters. My hypothesis is that these may be states with the most influential private hospital systems and political influence, as well as much smaller public health budgets. Maybe also political hostility to socialism and all that.

    It sometimes seems to me the main interest NYC Dept of Health has left in CDC activities is in what grant funding is offered. The department used to have CDC advisors on site, but all that was withdrawn under the DJT administration. In January 2020, the NYC Dept of Health activated staff to combat covid and foolishly turned to CDC for guidance and accurate testing which was not forth coming. Boy, were we burned back then. Never again.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I was hospitalized in NYC to get 2 hips done. The hospital had no idea of nor interest in my vax status. All they wanted was a fresh PCR test.

      So if I contracted Covid while I was there or during my pre and post op trips, I can pretty much guarantee I would have been recorded as unvaxxed. I have no idea how many would fall into this category, but it’s a gap.

      But I also find the overall results implausible. Multiple countries around the world with national health care systems, ie comprehensive reporting, have issued data under Omicron that shows vax protection only for the boosted, and then the pretty recently boosted. The results are shockingly consistent that merely being vaxxed is negatively correlated with Covid case rates, being unvaxxed, which in many cases amounts to some Covid-conferred immunity, show lower infection rates.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      GM is even more skeptical. Via e-mail:

      New York may be a “vigilant data collector” but they have been anything but an honest data reporter.

      Or maybe I should not be so harsh — they actually had an open source GitHub with the data and its processing, which is much more open and transparent than most other studies, at least on that level. And people went and picked apart in detail what is actually happening.

      Because the numbers were just absurd — I haven’t checked it in a few weeks, but at some point it was showing a huge and growing gap in the rate of cases (not deaths, cases) between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated as the Omicron wave unfolded. Which is simply impossible — we knew at that point from Denmark and the UK that there is no protection from infection in the vaccinated, but NYC was showing 4-5x higher rates of infection in the unvaccinated. And, again, the gap was growing.

      When people dug around the GitHub it became clear what is happening — they were recording everyone without confirmed vaccination status as “unvaccinated”, then reclassifying later as vaccination status was established. If it was ever established, of course…

      Well, of course there will appear to be a large gap between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated if you recorded a lot of the vaccinated as unvaccinated…

      So the public numbers are basically at best completely unreliable, and at worse a deliberate fabrication.

      P.S. In general and as a basic principle, when everyone is dealing with the same variants and there are powerful political incentives to present a rosy picture, the most reliable data, unless there are known issues with the source, is the one that paints the most pessimistic picture. Which in this case means we are back to Israel. If the situation was so good for the vaccinated, Israel would not have been doing fourth doses. Which is now making its way to other countries as well, but slowly, as the third doses did.

      1. LAS

        I think you are a little off target in trying to generalize from personal experience about population statistics across states and municipalities.

        NYC clearly discloses that its data points are unfinished for the most recent weeks. I cited 1/8/2022 b/c it was the most recent week that was considered pretty complete. There WERE a lot of cases that week among vaccinated people, but much FEWER hospitalizations, and even FEWER deaths compared to vaccinated people. The data did support the immune escape effect, but also strongly supported the continued value of being vaccinated to avoid the most severe disease outcomes.

        The data support that there is a sizeable protective effect; it is so large that it does people a disservice not to recognize that.

        If you wish to criticize the NYC data, here are some things to discuss, and not what you actually did … For instance, who is vaccinated versus who is not — probably that is having some effect, too, but not the way you are thinking. As it happens, the majority of people not yet vaccinated include some of the most vulnerable people (extreme elderly, extremely young, and people of color, too). It is my opinion that this makes the death rate for the unvaccinated appear worse and therefore the vaccine effect seem better than it actually is. But I disagree with the importance of your HSS experience with respect to covid database stats. And I also disagree with the implied uselessness of getting vaccinated. You cited your personal experience at HSS. If you were mistakenly presumed unvaccinated for a short period of time by the HSS, so what? They are not the people managing the NYC or NY state covid vax database (which tracks vaccines administered in NY particularly among residents of NY). More problematic as an objection would be the people who got vaccinated in NYC and then left the state before they became sick b/c then we would not have a record of the illness. Do you really think either of these things arise to such a level as to invalidate the large size of the vaccine effect? I don’t.

        Finally, it is entirely appropriate for the HSS to relie on your PCR test and not your vax status. They are not keeping the covid vax database whereas they are deciding how to treat you. That’s their particular business, private medicine and not government stats.

        There are huge differences by states and municipalities across the nation about how data is collected or not. That is a very real issue. We have a very fractional medical system. The CDC has also been weakened from within. IMO, these are the root of the problem, and attacking how NYC tracks covid vaccine is not the problem. NYC stats are very far from being the problem.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          This is bad faith argumentation. I specifically cited my case as a fail and said it might not be a large population who fell in this category but it was a gap.

          You then dump paragraphs on my type of situation and completely ignored GM’s point, that NYC stats are abjectly wrong and therefore must be manipulated.

          Back to MY point, I had a major procedure. Four and one half hours of surgery. That is active time under the knife.

          I was in a hospital where everyone (outside the OR proper, HSS is nutcase about OR conditions) was wearing only a procedure mask, which under Delta (which was dominant then) was not adequate protection. I was more vulnerable to Covid by virtue of having had surgery and also becoming anemic as a result and could easily have contracted it there (I was there a full five days). Yet had I gotten Covid, I would have been listed as unvaxxed. This was not a private matter by virtue of my being hospitalized and at risk of Covid.

          I pointed out my situation as a gap in the records and others who came to NYC (including from the suburbs, NYC has more than 3X as many people in its MSMA as in the five boroughs. I would hazard easily 2x as many people as residents come in from the suburbs, NJ, Long Island for in and outpatient procedures. The ones getting inpatient procedures and who then got Covid are likely to be in the same position as I was.

          1. LAS

            Mine is not bad faith argumentation, and I strongly object to your characterizing it as such. My point is that you mistake the practice of private and personal medical care for the practice of public health statistical surveillance and vaccination tracking. What happens in hospitals does not automatically pour into the surveillance systems willy nilly. The NY system collects at point of vaccine administration within NY. And we don’t enter people who are merely asked whether they were vaccinated — as a design, that would be redundant mush, dependent on the frequency people may be asked or not asked that. Nor does the NYC and NY state vaccine tracking system attempt to account for people vaccinated in other states even if they visit NY. Besides that, cases, hospitalizations and deaths due to covid are recorded elsewhere, in other administrative databases, including death certificates, testing labs, and hospital/ER events. When research and evaluation statistics are run, there are separate methodological decisions for relating/matching data between administrative databases and these typically are disclosed in methodological discussions. The major stats are not meant to account for relatively rare atypical cases. It’s public health, for population health guidance and not individual treatment decisions. Public health or population health statistics and research are meant to guide people on the broad generalizations they may reasonably draw. You are skipping over all that for whatever reason, hypothesizing and generalizing off of personal experience in the medical system.

            As for solving for the problems at the CDC, how exactly are they to overcome the fractional nature of national statistics with insufficient support for national standards when we can’t even have a civil discussion on how surveillance systems operate in a single state?

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              You are still being completely obtuse about my point and are continuing to misrepresent it. That is bad faith.

              NYC and NYS also report whether hospitalized cases are vaxxed or not. I said based on my experience, and I get nearly all my medical care in NYC and therefore run contagion risk when I visit for a week or so and spend time in poorly ventilated waiting, exam, and treatment rooms, as well as in a hospital, there is no way no how the hospital would have my vaccine status. They would incorrectly report me as unvaxxed.

              Other people come from outside NYC to get treatments in NYC, it is something of a medical tourism destinationl

              Absolutely nothing you have said in either of your long comments refutes my issue. All you keep doing is doubling down on NYC tracking of vaccines in NYC.

              And you have also failed to address GM’s issue, that too often NYC reports case counts that are simply implausible. This is the SECOND time you’ve ignored his comment even though I highlighted it again in mine.

  31. drumlin woodchuckles

    What are they trying to hide? Perhaps they are trying to hide their success in helping spread covid, if that is their real undisclosed intention.

    If it is, they would want to keep it undisclosed. That means they would want to prevent the collection of data showing how far and wide covid is spreading. Prevention of data collection is even more effective at preventing the detailed discovery of the quantifiable aspects of a problem than suppression of data after it has been gathered.

    If everyday ordinary people knew by the numbers just how far and fast and wide covid is spreading, they might begin to wonder if someone is spreading it on purpose, or at least facilitating its spread by quietly preventing its control. If that question came up, some or maybe even all eyes would begin to fall with suspicion upon the CDC, among others.

  32. Ernest Dempsey

    I have been calling CDC the Corrupt Discredited Corporation and each passing day I feel this name is really what defines the agency.

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