Discover more from Beyond the Data
The CDC doesn't even pretend that it is tracking real things anymore
I spent significantly more time messing around on the (awful) CDC website for Community Levels that are now driving COVID responses throughout the state and country, and all I can do is shake my head. They fully admit their hospital admission numbers are ‘estimates’, though exactly what estimation rules they’re following, I have no idea as you are about to see.
They’ve actually made it pretty easy and straightforward to do the comparisons between their data and Ohio’s data. You don’t even need to know what other counties are in your Health Service Area, they’ve got ‘estimates for every county.
So let me walk you through the process so you too can have your mind blown.
Next, click on the county you’re interested in.
Third, scroll down the page towards the bottom where you will see some graphs. You’re looking for the hospital admission on which looks like this:
Now the part of this that is most interesting are the three lines at the top left, so let’s take a closer look at what they have there, shall we?
The middle line is (almost) the same as what it is in the big bold box at the top of the page that is the overview of the three metrics, while the top and bottom line give us some added information. Specifically, the top line gives the CDC’s estimated new admissions in a raw number - no calculations necessary. The bottom number tells us by what percentage the new admissions have changed - 16% is a pretty big increase, so we for sure should start being worried, shouldn’t we?
Well. This makes it much easier to compare what the CDC is telling us is happening with what the raw data from the state is showing us. (A tutorial on accessing the Ohio csv file data can be found here)
So let’s do some nice, simple comparisons with some of the counties I have already been looking at this week. Starting with Franklin County, where Columbus is.
So, the CDC is telling us that they are ‘estimating’ that there were 161 new admissions in Franklin County over one week. Real number of resident admissions?
Now, it’s been a while since I learned how to do estimations, so maybe Common Core has some special new rules I am unaware of, but I don’t think 161 is a close approximation of 3.
How about we check on Athens County, home of Ohio University which has already reissued its mask mandate based on the CDC’s map. Based on the new hospital admissions.
According to the all-knowing CDC, Athens was ‘estimated’ to have 9 new admissions in one week. Actual number?
The last new admission was on July 22nd which puts it in the previous 7 days.
So….Exactly how does the math work when the number of admissions this week was zero, the number last week was 1, and yet there was a 38.5% increase in new admissions according to the CDC?
If there weren’t such severe consequences, the clear illogic of it all would be truly comical. But as it is, these stunningly inaccurate ‘estimates’ have already led to a huge flurry of new mandates across counties, universities, businesses. It has led to the cancellation of events as well. All on ‘estimations’ that don’t have any relation to reality.
This nonsense is affecting millions in Ohio. 67 out of our 88 counties are considered at a ‘high’ level right now solely due to these obviously ridiculous ‘estimates’.
This needs to stop. The CDC needs to be held accountable for its intolerable sloppiness and the destruction it leaves carelessly in its wake. Make sure to show all of this official data to health officials, administrators, employers and anyone else who wants to impose more restrictions.