Tuesday, February 22, 2022

CDC only publishing small portion of COVID data collected: report


The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is publishing only a small fraction of the COVID-19 data it has collected, sources told The New York Times.

The CDC has been collecting and breaking down data on COVID-19 hospitalizations by age, race and vaccination status for more than a year, but most of the information has not been publicized, the Times reported Sunday.

The health agency first published significant data two weeks ago on the booster effectiveness in adults under the age of 65, but the CDC did not publish hospitalization numbers for adults ages 18 through 49. The Times speculated, "perhaps because the numbers were too small." Two shots often provide enough protection to that age group.

Some states have been sharing wastewater data, which can be used to predict oncoming COVID surges, since the start of the pandemic. However, the CDC did not begin posting the data until earlier this month.

Several sources told the Times that the CDC is only publishing "a tiny fraction of the data it has collected."

Authorities have been forced to rely on data from Israel to determine the efficacy of booster vaccines, the outlet reported.

CDC Spokeswoman Kristen Norlund told The Times that her agency has been slow to release data "because basically, at the end of the day, it’s not yet ready for prime time." 

The agency came under fire last year for not publishing data on breakthrough COVID infections last year.

Norlund confirmed that one reason the CDC is hesitant to publish data is that the vaccines may be misinterpreted as being ineffective. Another reason she cited is that the CDC data represents about 10 percent of the U.S. population. The methodology for collecting the data has been used by the CDC for years to track influenza though.