Time to end secret data laboratories—starting with the CDC

CDC reportedly published ‘tiny fraction’ of COVID data

Former CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield says The New York Times report highlights a need for modernizing the public health data system.

The American people are waking up to the fact that too many public health leaders have not always been straight with them. Despite housing treasure troves of critical COVID data on vaccines and on natural immunity, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has only been releasing slivers of data that support its own scientific dogma.

Most of the media has fallen for it. Throughout the pandemic, the New York Times and other outlets has only sourced doctors agreeing with the establishment groupthink, dangled fear to young people, and amplified every headline government doctors feed them as they did with weapons of mass destruction.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been criticized and mocked from all sides after a series of muddled messages have baffled Americans amid a record surge in COVID-19 cases and the spread of the omicron variant. (iStock)

But this week, one Times reporter picked up on what many of us have been saying about the CDC’s deception. The reporter learned that the CDC data on booster efficacy released two weeks ago conveniently left out hospitalization data for people under age 50.

So, let’s trace the origin of the widespread employer and college booster mandates for young people. There never was, and still is, zero scientific, clinical data that boosting reduces COVID hospitalizations in young healthy people. The FDA had bypassed its expert advisory group to authorize boosters in young people after its own experts previously voted 16-2 against the idea and two top FDA officials quit over White House pressure over this very issue.

Throughout the saga, the media gave public health leaders a megaphone to broadcast their agenda, unchecked, failing to ask them any basic questions. Like, where’s the supporting data? Colleges and universities, which pride themselves as bastions of intelligent inquisition, embarrassed themselves by blindly following the scientific dogma, requiring all vaccinated students to get boosted, even when many already had natural immunity. So, do public health officials understand why people don’t trust them?

Hiding data on boosters in young people is only one piece of the political shell game the CDC plays. There more than 150 studies supporting natural immunity, including a JAMA study recently published by my Hopkins team. Moreover, the observational clinical data are clear—natural immunity reduces the risk of mechanical ventilation and death in healthy people to nearly zero.

But despite this overwhelming body of scientific evidence that has withstood the test of time, the CDC has consistently cited two studies to the contrary, both highly flawed studies it published itself. One of those studies is a CDC study using a 2-month sliver of Kentucky data. Despite having data on all 50 states, the CDC only reported data from that one state last year. The obvious explanation is that it was the only state and time period that gave the CDC the results it wanted. Why else would it not report the same data from any of the other 49 states? Moreover, in its jury-rigged study, the rate of infection in each group was less than 0.01 percent.

Regardless, the CDC study vigorously concluded that vaccinated immunity was 2.3-times better than natural immunity, based on a very small difference in the sample which was likely attributable to other factors. Dr. and CDC Director Rochelle Walensky used it to propagate the notion that those who had COVID still must get vaccinated.

Last month, New York and California released data to the CDC that natural immunity was 2.8 times more effective in preventing hospitalizations than vaccinated immunity—a benefit that was the same for those with hybrid (natural and vaccinated) immunity. But absent from its reversal was any apology to the many American workers with natural immunity it insisted be fired from their job for not being vaccinated unvaccinated. Ironically, when employers fired those with natural immunity for not being vaccinated, they fired those least likely to spread the infection or get hospitalized. Similarly, the CDC put out two highly flawed studies that promoted mask mandates, detailed by Dr. Vinay Prasad. 

The American people are just hungry for honesty.  They want the data straight, not politically curated by a small group of like-minded scientists.

If I were advising President Joe Biden, I would tell him that the CDC needs to restore the public trust by making all CDC data available in real-time for researchers around the country to access and to study. It’s time we end secret data laboratories in the government.

The CDC has a pattern of hoarding data in order to cherry-pick the findings it likes and then publish them in its own journal, called MMWR. This is not how a respectable country should function during a pandemic. An optimal response to a national health emergency should warrant more data transparency, not less.

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