Covid Data Stinginess

Early in the pandemic, I got busy for a while trying to use the data that was being reported in order to draw meaningful insights. (Here's just one example of an animated heatmap of Covid spread.) I quickly discovered that the data that was being released was inadequate for assessing relative personal risk. At first I assumed this was because the data reporting hadn't caught up with our actual circumstance. But a year and a half into the pandemic, there's little excuse for being stingy with risk-assessment data.  The only possible reasons are total incompetence (never rule this out when we're talking about government workers) or skullduggery.

Kevin Roche has similar concerns and the guys at Powerline quote him to full effect.

Weekly on Mondays the state merely gives the number of persons who are fully vaccinated along with the cumulative number of breakthrough cases, hospitalizations and deaths. The department does this because it fits their messaging, which has been that breakthroughs are rare and represent a very small per capita rate of all people who are infected.
This is misleading. While per capita rates can be informative, they should be compared with per capita rates among the unvaccinated and, more importantly, the public should be given data on the relative proportion of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths due to breakthrough infections versus those in the unvaccinated. And please note that the unvaccinated actually includes a number of persons who are in the process of becoming fully vaccinated.
While the state — intentionally I believe — fails to attach dates to breakthrough events, it is possible by estimating data lags to come up with the proportions of breakthrough events. The charts in my recent post provide the per capita proportions of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in the vaccinated and unvaccinated populations in Minnesota, and the proportion of those events in each population, respectively.
The charts help us understand why the department so desperately seeks to divert attention from the data. We do not in fact currently have an epidemic of the unvaccinated. We have an epidemic that is likely right at this moment evenly split between the two groups and heading toward a majority of the events occurring in the vaccinated population...
...I don’t find this alarming. In fact it is what you would expect a vaccine against a respiratory virus. And it doesn’t mean the vaccines don’t work — they do, on a relative basis. But the public should have been given the appropriate expectations and should be given fully transparent and accurate information about breakthrough events. Among other things, this information helps create the realistic understanding that it is futile to imagine that we can eliminate the virus. We can’t and we will live with it just fine.

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