Politics of Covid-19

GURPS

INGSOC
PREMO Member
The CDC's Ever-Shifting COVID-19 Advice Shows the Agency Is Ill-Suited To Decide Which Risks Are Acceptable


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which initially said there was no need for most Americans to wear face masks as a safeguard against COVID-19, reversed that position a little more than a year ago. Beginning in April 2020, the CDC said face masks were an essential disease control tool, even for people who have been vaccinated. Yesterday the CDC modified its advice again, saying fully vaccinated Americans generally do not need to wear masks outdoors or indoors, except when required to do so by businesses or the government.

At each turn, the CDC has said its recommendations were informed by the latest scientific evidence. While there is some truth to that claim, it is clear that other, nonscientific factors have played a role in the CDC's shifting attitude toward face coverings as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The history of that evolution provides ample reason to be skeptical of both the CDC's specific recommendations and the expectation that all Americans should conform to its notion of safety.
'YOU DO NOT NEED TO WEAR A FACEMASK'

'THE MOST IMPORTANT, POWERFUL PUBLIC HEALTH TOOL WE HAVE'

'IT FEELS LIKE A HUGE SHIFT'

'WHY DO WE HAVE TO WEAR MASKS?'


Maybe those two studies provided the crucial pieces of evidence that made the CDC comfortable with relaxing its recommendations for vaccinated people. But it is likely that other factors also played a role.

The CDC seems to have recognized that expecting people to continue living constrained lives even after they get their shots reduces the incentive to get vaccinated, especially among Americans who are at low risk from COVID-19. More generally, the CDC's excessive conservatism makes Americans less likely to take any of its advice seriously. As Sen. Susan Collins (R–Maine) noted during Walensky's Senate testimony this week, "It undermines public confidence in your recommendations, in the recommendations that do make sense, in the recommendations that Americans should be following."
 

GURPS

INGSOC
PREMO Member
Analysis Shows Restaurants, Gyms, Hair Salons Were Not A Significant Source Of COVID Transmissions, But There Are Caveats


Another issue is that the data is limited, with only a few states publicly releasing COVID-19 tracking information in a way that organizes the data by business sector. Contact tracing is also limited, with very few cases able to be traced back to a potential source.

Still, the analysis should make people feel less apprehensive about returning to normal life. ABC looked at publicly available data in four states – California, Illinois, Michigan, and North Carolina – and Washington, D.C., and found that less than 5% of new COVID-19 cases in those states came from bars, restaurants, gyms, etc. in those states.

Additional states also released data that helped with the analysis even if they didn’t categorize the data by business sector.
 

GURPS

INGSOC
PREMO Member
Media Wanted To Believe Florida Was Fudging COVID-19 Data, But The Story Is A Fraud


Further, Jones’ story changed dramatically the more she told it, from her initial claims that she was fired for merely questioning the data. The Associated Press initially reported that “Jones has not alleged any tampering with data on deaths, hospital symptom surveillance, hospitalizations for COVID-19, numbers of new confirmed cases, or overall testing rates — core elements of any assessment of the outbreak and of federal criteria for reopening.” The outlet also noted that “Jones acknowledges Florida has been relatively transparent — for which she herself claims some credit — and relatively successful in controlling the pandemic.”

Since that initial story, however, Jones began saying that, actually, yeah, her superiors – particularly Dr. Shamarial Roberson – had directly instructed her to “delete cases and deaths” to make Florida look better. She now claims Roberson “asked me to go into the raw data and manually alter figures.”

Again, remember that Jones didn’t have access to the raw data. She merely ran the dashboard. To further illustrate this point, National Review pointed out that Jones now runs her own dashboard, using the same data as the state, she simply displays it differently:
Or, to put it more bluntly, she displays them badly. When you get past all of the nonsense, what Jones is ultimately saying is that the State of Florida—and, by extension, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—has not processed its data in the same way that she would if she were in charge. But, frankly, why would it? Again, Jones isn’t an epidemiologist, and her objections, while compelling to the sort of low-information political obsessive she is so good at attracting, betray a considerable ignorance of the material issues. In order to increase the numbers in Florida’s case count, Jones counts positive antibody tests as cases. But that’s unsound, given that (a) those positives include people who have already had COVID-19 or who have had the vaccine, and (b) Jones is unable to avoid double-counting people who have taken both an antibody test and a COVID test that came back positive, because the state correctly refuses to publish the names of the people who have taken those tests. Likewise, Jones claims that Florida is hiding deaths because it does not include nonresidents in its headline numbers. But Florida does report nonresident deaths; it just reports them separately, as every state does, and as the CDC’s guidelines demand. Jones’s most recent claim is that Florida’s “excess death” number is suspicious. But that, too, has been rigorously debunked by pretty much everyone who understands what “excess deaths” means in an epidemiological context—including by the CDC; by Daniel Weinberger, an epidemiologist at the Yale School of Public Health; by Lauren Rossen, a statistician at the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics; and, most notably, by Jason Salemi, an epidemiologist at the University of South Florida, who, having gone to the trouble of making a video explaining calmly why the talking point was false, was then bullied off Twitter by Jones and her followers.
 
Top