The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has deleted tens of thousands of deaths associated to COVID-19 from its database, blaming it on a coding error. The database include roughly a quarter of those under the age of 18.
On March 15, the health agency secretly updated its data tracker website.
According to the CDC’s website, “Data on deaths were adjusted after resolving a coding logic error. This resulted in decreased death counts across all demographic categories.”
COVID-19 deaths are reported by states and other authorities, and the CDC acknowledges on its website that the data is incomplete.
However, doctors and others frequently reference the numbers when advocating for COVID-19 immunisation, including those who feel that practically all children should be vaccinated. The CDC’s director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, used the tracker’s death total in November 2021 in favor of an expert panel advising her organisation to promote immunisation for all children aged 5 to 11.
Subscribe to GreatGameIndia
According to Kelley Krohnert, a Georgia resident who has been following the changes, the CDC previously reported 1,755 children as dying from COVID-19, with an estimated 851,000 others.
The CDC decreased 416 deaths among children and over 71,000 deaths elsewhere in the report, bringing the total to slightly under 780,000.
The agency declined to comment by the deadline, but later gave additional information on the revisions.
In August 2021, the CDC revised its death count “after the identification of a data discrepancy.”
In an email, Krohnert stated, “The update is an improvement, but it’s at least the third correction to this data, and still does not solve the issue. It just highlights that people have been using a flawed source of data when discussing kids and COVID,”
The tracker data has been cited by some journalists and clinicians, but others use a count maintained by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), which the agency has described as more credible.
The NCHS tally, which is based on death certificates, now shows 921 COVID-19 related fatalities among children and 966,000 deaths involving COVID-19 in other age categories.
Persons who died with COVID-19 and people who died from COVID-19 are included in the tally, a CDC spokesman informed in an email in January. At the time, COVID-19 was recorded as the underlying cause, or principal death cause, on almost 90% of death certificates.
Some of the CDC’s deaths don’t appear to be linked to COVID-19. According to an assessment of the death codes, numerous deaths were classified as being caused by drowning, while others were listed as being caused by a gun fire.
Dr. Alasdair Munro, a clinical research fellow for paediatric infectious diseases at University Hospital Southampton, described the update on the tracker as “great news” for the time being, given that roughly a quarter of the paediatric COVID-19 deaths had vanished.
However, Munro wrote on Twitter that it was “slightly worrying that this data was being used widely in the US to guide or advocate for policy.”
Certain people demanded that the CDC apologise publicly or at the very least publicise such revisions, similar to how some lower-level agencies have made it plain that their mortality tolls are declining.
Jessica Adams, a former regulatory review officer at the Food and Drug Administration, wrote on Twitter, “It’s outrageous to quietly footnote such a consequential error.”
However, a previous CDC spokesperson pointed out that the data on the CDC website is estimated and susceptible to change.
In an email to The Epoch Times, Glen Nowak, the former spokesperson, who is now an assistant dean for research and graduate studies at the University of Georgia, said:
“There is much complexity involved in all systems that are trying to track and summarize illness and death data, including differences in how data are collected and reported, completeness and accuracy of data, how timely data is entered into data collection systems and reported to CDC, and in the assumptions made, and procedures used to determine whether COVID-19 was the primary cause of death, a contributing cause of death, or not likely a contributing factor in someone’s death.”
“It is thus not surprising that adjustments or revisions happen, including as a result of coding-related issues (e.g., recognizing, as more cases and information are provided, that a better way to enter, analyze, and/or interpret the data existed).”
Given the disclaimers, Nowak said he wasn’t surprised the CDC didn’t announce the change, claiming that federal agency releases “are best reserved for events or developments that have or could have significant impact on government recommendations or policies.”