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County COVID Policies Based on No Known Public Data, New York Times Reveals

The New York Times reported on February 20, 2022, that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has deliberately withheld nearly all data it possesses about COVID, the effects of various COVID treatments and much more, simply because a handful of CDC leaders believe it will erode trust in COVID “vaccines.”

This means that public health policy across the nation, including Ventura County, has been based on no known public data, even as citizens were assured that County policymakers were “following CDC protocols.”

“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,” the Times reported in the article, which is titled, “The C.D.C. Isn’t Publishing Large Portions of the Covid Data It Collects: The agency has withheld critical data on boosters, hospitalizations and, until recently, wastewater analyses.”

According to the Times, “[T]he C.D.C. has been routinely collecting information since the Covid vaccines were first rolled out last year, according to a federal official familiar with the effort. The agency has been reluctant to make those figures public, the official said, because they might be misinterpreted as the vaccines being ineffective. Ms. Nordlund [CDC spokeswoman] confirmed that as one of the reasons.”

The report also said, “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.”

The beleaguered advisory agency admitted to cherry-picking data for political purposes.

“The C.D.C. is a political organization as much as it is a public health organization,” Samuel Scarpino, managing director of pathogen surveillance at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Pandemic Prevention Institute, told the Times. “The steps that it takes to get something like this released are often well outside of the control of many of the scientists that work at the C.D.C.”

For example, “[w]hen the C.D.C. published the first significant data on the effectiveness of boosters in adults younger than 65 [in February 2022], 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 [presumably] the first two doses already left them well-protected.” This means the CDC offered no data on this age group to assist local leaders in making critical decisions and recommendations.

“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,” the Times reported. “Much of the withheld information could help state and local health officials better target their efforts.”

For example, “Information on hospitalizations and death by age and vaccination status would have helped inform whether healthy adults needed booster shots,” the Times said.

Ventura County supervisors and public health leaders, along with city leaders, invariably have said they are “following all CDC guidelines” when asked about the public health policies they imposed, shutting down huge portions of public and private life for two years.

In response to questions from the Conejo Guardian, Ventura County public health spokesmen repeatedly deferred to CDC policy without providing any additional information.

“We have been begging for that sort of granularity of data for two years.”

Jessica Malaty Rivera, Covid Tracking Project

The New York Times report makes clear that Ventura County, and all municipalities and states, functioned essentially blindly during the pandemic, serving as the local enforcement arms of the CDC, which created guidelines for political aims. Unilaterally exerting control over local populations via health “mandates,” Ventura County threatened, sued and shut down thousands of private businesses, schools, churches and groups of every kind — justifying it as “following CDC guidelines.”

The Times report reveals that these unprecedented suspensions of basic rights were based on the opinions and political goals of CDC agency leaders who continue to withhold nearly all COVID data from the American public.

According to the Times, “Some outside public health experts were stunned to hear that information exists.”

“’We have been begging for that sort of granularity of data for two years,’ said Jessica Malaty Rivera, an epidemiologist and part of the team that ran Covid Tracking Project, an independent effort that compiled data on the pandemic till March 2021. A detailed analysis, she said, ‘builds public trust, and it paints a much clearer picture of what’s actually going on.’”

She chastised CDC leaders for withholding critical information from the American public for political purposes.

“We are at a much greater risk of misinterpreting the data with data vacuums, than sharing the data with proper science, communication and caveats,” Rivera told the Times.

“Tell the truth, present the data,” Dr. Paul Offit, a vaccine expert and adviser to the Food and Drug Administration, echoed.

The Guardian sought comment from Ventura County supervisors and public health officials for this article but received no reply.

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