The US Center for Disease Control (CDC) is the Federal Agency responsible for protecting public health. This year the CDC has suspended influenza data collection for the entire season. The announcement was made in small text on the weekly influenza reporting section of the official cdc.gov domain. Outpatient Illness Surveillance is a critical part of monitoring programs that track the spread of various types of contagious infections.
Questionable counting practices have been observed at the CDC throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Early adjustments to death certificate rules may have inflated initial mortality reports and various states have been caught submitting suspicious data. The CDC has also changed its method of reporting COVID-19 infections by rolling them into the traditional Pneumonia and influenza category. The pneumonia and influenza (P&I) tracking category has now been replaced with the pneumonia, influenza and coronavirus (PIC) tracking category.
Due to the impact of COVID-19 on ILI surveillance, and the fact that the state and territorial epidemiologists report relies heavily on ILI activity, reporting for this system will be suspended for the 2020-21 influenza season.Center for Disease Control CDC.Gov
Including COVID-19 infection counts with pneumonia and influenza brings into question the actual breakdown of the mortality rates for all three. To report COVID-19 included with pneumonia and influenza while suspending tracking of influenza will invalidate summary reporting of PIC data from the CDC. Introducing an unknown into a data set compromises the integrity of the entire set. Undiagnosed and untracked cases of seasonal influenza will be premixed with coronavirus cases within the PIC data report. For reference the average flu season in the USA causes between 40,000 and 60,000 deaths nationwide with several outlier years that had more than 100,000 influenza deaths across the country. Mixed reporting will make it difficult to know just how many of those deaths were influenza, pneumonia or coronavirus
The USA has dropped it’s membership from the World Health Organization (WHO) because of Chinese influence. The White House says the WHO has been corrupted by Chinese influence. It delivers evidence that the organization has become useless and even hurts the cause. The USA remains a leader of global health initiatives and will retain that position by reallocation of funds previously sent to the WHO.
The CDC also released a data adjustment related to co-morbidity of COVID-19 deaths. The clarification of previous reporting shocked those who have been watching closely. The adjustment was a metric that tracks co-morbidity among the fatal cases of COVID-19 and essentially shows that far less people died from the coronavirus than has been reported. On average, those who died from COVID-19 had two or more serious conditions that contributed to death. Essentially the CDC is admitting that the majority of reported deaths are people died with COVID-19 rather than dying from it.
This month a whole new wave of Governor mandated lockdowns have been announced. Michigan, Washington, and California have new lockdowns and Ohio Governor, Mike Dewine, announced a 21 day curfew between 10PM and 5AM. The Governor did not offer any medical justification to explain how curfews will impact the spread of the virus.
While Governors impose harsh new mandates that often exceed their mandate, the public is left with tainted data and therefore unable to validate the motivations of leadership. Spoiling COVID-19 deaths by surreptitiously including an unknown number influenza deaths in the PIC data stream could be seen as a deliberate move to obscure the actual metrics of the COVID-19 pandemic. Political leaders will eventually have to explain their decision making and until then stay posted for future updates.