Covid Confusion at the CDC

Covid Confusion at the CDC. By Marty Makary, a professor at Johns Hopkins.

The U.S. spends lavishly on healthcare yet can’t answer basic questions about Covid-19. Some of the best research has come from Israel. American public health agencies should be producing data on breakthrough infections, boosters and natural immunity. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has failed to provide the information needed to inform a sound Covid strategy. …

The agency has 21,000 employees and a $15 billion annual budget. It has data on more than 40 million Americans who have tested positive for Covid and 200 million who have been vaccinated. The data include the vaccine type, dosing schedule and vaccination date. Calculating the rate of U.S. breakthrough infections and subsequent hospitalizations and deaths isn’t the Manhattan Project. It’s Epidemiology 101.

The CDC’s failure to report meaningful data has left policy makers flying blind. In the absence of good data to answer the basic questions Americans have been asking, political opinions have filled the vacuum. Strong data might have prevented much of the polarization over Covid.

Sound data from the CDC has been especially lacking on natural immunity from prior Covid infection. On Aug. 25, Israel published the most powerful and scientifically rigorous study on the subject to date. In a sample of more than 700,000 people, natural immunity was 27 times more effective than vaccinated immunity in preventing symptomatic infections.

Politics before science?

Despite this evidence, U.S. public health officials continue to dismiss natural immunity, insisting that those who have recovered from Covid must still get the vaccine. Policy makers and public health leaders, and the media voices that parrot them, are inexplicably sticking to their original hypothesis that natural immunity is fleeting, even as at least 15 studies show it lasts.

Meanwhile, employers fire workers with natural immunity who won’t get vaccinated. Schools disenroll students who won’t comply.

The CDC did put out a study on natural immunity last month, forcefully concluding that vaccinated immunity was 2.3 times better than natural immunity. The CDC used these results to justify telling those with natural immunity to get vaccinated.

But the rate of infection in each group was less than 0.01%, meaning infections were exceedingly rare in the short two-month time period the agency chose to study. This is odd, given there are more than a year of data available. Moreover, despite having data on all 50 states, the CDC only reported data from Kentucky. Was Kentucky the only state that produced the desired result? Why else exclude the same data from the other 49 states?

Some public health officials are afraid to acknowledge natural immunity because they fear some will choose infection over vaccination. But leaders can encourage all Americans who aren’t immune to get vaccinated and be transparent with the data at the same time. The CDC shouldn’t fish for data to support outdated hypotheses.

The CDC and Fauci don’t have much credibility left.

Both are overpaid. Coincidence?

hat-tip David Archibald