Unlike England, or Scotland, or Israel, or Germany, or many other countries that have semi-functioning governments, the United States has no nationally reliable source of Covid or Covid vaccine data.
Our famed Centers for Disease Control has turned out to be less famed than infamous. It has failed in every conceivable way since February 2020. Some inconceivable ways too. Worse, in the months since Joe Biden staggered into the White House, the CDC has slipped from mere incompetence into actively twisting science for its new political masters. It has become a true Dept. of Pandemia. (More on this to come.)
In place of centralized national data, we have state health department reports. The states are probably about as competent as the CDC overall, but a bit less political. Maybe.
They also run their own immunization registries and also closer to the local hospital systems and coroners that report Covid deaths. So their five o’clock folly body count reports go through a little less truth destruction.
A note to younger readers: Body count doesn’t mean what you think it means.
During the Vietnam War, the United States military regularly reported its “body counts” - the number of Vietcong guerillas or North Vietnamese soldiers it had killed. These figures became infamous as the ultimate example of the way bureaucracies could release seemingly precise statistics that had no relation to reality. Reporters began to call the press briefings where they were disclosed the “five o’clock follies.”
(A note to older readers: the young ‘uns use “body count” to refer to the number of sexual partners they’ve had. Cute, huh?)
You may also know that Saigon is now called Ho Chi Minh City. The reason it’s now called Ho Chi Minh City is that the United States lost the Vietnam War despite our incredibly advanced technology, which we insisted for years was enabling us to win the war. Do I need to extend this analogy further? The enemy gets a vote, whether that enemy is human or viral.
But I digress. (Not really. The Vietnam stuff is kinda important, since the Vietnam War was the last time our government messed up anything nearly as badly as it has messed up Covid, and for some of the same reasons - as was obvious basically from the start.)
The difference is that this time around the vast majority of the media and academia have happily lined up to join the truth gangrape, which makes stopping it much harder.
So we are stuck with the state numbers. And the state numbers are all over the place, both literally and figuratively. Some states update their numbers weekly and are reasonably transparent. Others, not so much.
For example, on Nov. 11, Connecticut reported that “one hundred seventy fifty” vaccinated people had died of Covid since February. Beyond the fact that “one hundred seventy fifty” is not a number, the state had reported a week before that 226 vaccinated people had died since February. Which seems to imply that about 50 Connecticutians (?) were resurrected last week.
Que sera, sera. Not like it’s life and death, amirite?
But stupid public health tricks aside, American data has a much bigger problem - and this one is not an accident.
The amount of information about vaccine “breakthrough” cases states and the CDC have provided has decreased over the last several months.
For example, until about a month ago, Oklahoma reported Covid hospitalizations and deaths among the vaccinated, including by the type of shot they had received.
Now, however, after months of being part of the report, that handy-dandy chart has gone bye-bye.
Why? In its Oct. 19 report, Oklahoma offered this explanation:
At this time, we are currently working on refining the process for identifying breakthrough infections and reinfections. Once we have finalized this process, we will resume providing tables.
Oh. That clears everything up. As Dr. Seuss wrote in One Fish, Two Fish: “Why are they sad and glad and bad? I do not know. Go ask your dad.” Of course, he was writing about cartoon fish.
Then again, why should the state of Oklahoma provide information the CDC won’t? Back at the start of May, the CDC stopped counting Covid infections in vaccinated Americans. The decision destroyed any efforts to track how well the vaccines worked against infection or transmission on the national level.
A fact you might think we’d want to know.
But hey, at least the CDC still provided weekly updates on vaccine breakthroughs that resulted in hospitalization and death across the United States. You could find them at a page called, handily enough:
Don’t bother going there now. You’ll be redirected to another CDC page, this one headlined, “Ensuring Covid-19 Vaccines Work.” In case you have missed the point, the next line is, “Covid-19 Vaccines Work,” beside an illustration of a doctor holding a shield with “VACCINE” emblazoned across it.
The CDC’s last public weekly update came the week of Monday, Oct. 18, with data from that day. At that point, the page showed almost 11,000 deaths and more than 30,000 hospitalizations in vaccinated Americans. Those numbers hung around until Nov. 1, when the page was suddenly eliminated.
Why? Just spitballing here, but maybe it had something to do with the fact that from Oct. 4 to Oct. 18, deaths of vaccinated people jumped more than 4,000 and hospitalizations almost 14,000.
Again - in mid-October, the CDC reported more than 300 deaths and almost 1,000 new hospitalizations a day among vaccinated Americans.
Pandemic of the unvaccinated, anyone?
In place of the actual numbers, the CDC and some states now present “age-adjusted” hospitalization and death rates for Covid. Those uniformly show that unvaccinated people are at much higher rates of death than vaccinated people.
Vaccine advocates will say focusing on age-adjusted data is fair because vaccinated people tend to be older and older people are at much higher risk. They are correct.
But they ignore the other half of this equation. It is extremely likely that many of the older people who are unvaccinated have not been vaccinated because they are too weak to tolerate vaccinations.
Norwegian researchers acknowledged this reality last week in a paper about how vaccinated vs. unvaccinated Covid patients fare in hospitals: “frail elderly patients with multiple comorbidities may be more likely to be unvaccinated.”
This is especially true for older people who have received a first mRNA dose but not a second. Those people inherently have no objection to vaccination. Why would they have failed to receive a second dose unless they could not tolerate the first, or were so close to death by the time of the second that their physicians viewed it as useless?
The half-dosed also have extremely high illness and death rates from Covid. Which matters, when we are trying to figure out how well the vaccines work, we need to classify them properly. Countries that want to present an honest picture of vaccine efficacy report them separately from either vaccinated or unvaccinated people.
THE UNITED STATES DOES NOT. The CDC and most states simply lump partly vaccinated people in with the unvaccinated - and even call people unvaccinated two weeks past the second dose.
Reporting data this way is a lie designed to make the vaccines look better. Outcomes in the first five or six weeks are clearly relevant to a treatment that begins to fail after five or six months.
The misclassification of these deaths is one of several reasons American data tends to show greater vaccine effectiveness than other countries’ figures. Another is the fact that the summer Covid wave took place in Southern states that had low vaccination rates.
A third is that the United States has high levels of income inequality and health disparities - notably severe obesity, which is a huge risk factor for Covid. In general, aside from that group of elderly people who are too frail to be vaccinated, people in the United States who are at low risk from Covid are probably much more likely to be vaccinated than those at high risk. We know this is true of flu vaccines. Anecdotal evidence strongly suggests it is even more true of Covid.
If the CDC weren’t completely dishonest, it would conduct research on the intersection between vaccine hesitancy AND PRE-EXISTING HEALTH PROBLEMS THAT PUT PEOPLE AT HIGHER RISK FROM COVID. It would focus all its outreach on getting old people and obese people and especially old obese people vaccinated, and leave the rest of us alone.
Then again, if the CDC weren’t completely dishonest, the last 20 months would have gone very differently.
So the United States - which spends $4 trillion a year on health care, an unthinkable sum, more than $10,000 for each American - is stuck relying on foreign data for the most basic facts about Covid vaccinations.
And I mean the MOST basic. Like the number of vaccinated Americans who have died of Covid.
The CDC DOESN’T THINK YOU SHOULD HAVE THAT NUMBER. At least not anywhere that’s readily accessible.
Wrap your heads around that, friends. If you can.