CDC Says It Accidentally Inflated Pediatric COVID Data Used in Media Scare Pieces, Cites 'Coding Logic Error'
When the omicron strain of COVID-19 hit, there was widespread relief that, while the new variant was more transmissible, it wasn’t more deadly.
But to the establishment media, there was something to fear. (Wasn’t there always?) OK, news outlets said, omicron might be milder for adults, but maybe not for children.
“One-third of all child deaths from Covid have happened in the past two months. That’s staggering,” independent journalist Melody Schreiber tweeted March 11, along with a link to her story in the U.K. Guardian about the same.
And, in fact, this was true — until the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention adjusted its data last week, citing a “coding logic error.”
(This wasn’t the first time we’ve seen serious issues with coronavirus data, and it probably won’t be the last. Here at The Western Journal, we were on top of this well before the establishment media would even touch it. We’ll continue to bring you the truth. You can help us by subscribing.)
According to a Washington Examiner report about the adjustment (headline: “Reported pediatric COVID-19 deaths plummet 24% after CDC fixes ‘coding logic error'”), the CDC’s data on Monday showed 1,755 deaths from COVID-19 among those under the age of 18.
While this may seem like a small portion of the nearly 1 million deaths from the disease in the U.S., 738 of these minors’ deaths occurred in the first 10 weeks of 2022. Thus, a third of all COVID-19 deaths among children happened over roughly 10 percent of the whole course of the pandemic.
The effect of omicron on children had long been a matter of febrile speculation for the left, the media and even Supreme Court justices. As you may recall, during oral arguments on President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate, Justice Sonia Sotomayor remarked that there were “over 100,000 children [in hospitals], which we’ve never had before, in serious condition and many on ventilators.”
Here is Justice Sotomayor saying that “hospitals are almost all full capacity” and there are “over 100,000 children” hospitalized with covid “many on ventilators.
None of those things are true. Not even close. pic.twitter.com/MqWEL2UvJg
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) January 7, 2022
Granted, that was wildly erroneous, but that didn’t stop media outlets from speculating on omicron’s deadlier effect on children, who had heretofore been spared the brunt of the virus — and now there were data to back it up. Both The Guardian and the New York Post ran pieces on the “staggering” spike in child deaths.
Which turned out to be not so staggering on Tuesday. That’s when the CDC resolved an error and reduced the number of all-time pediatric deaths by 24 percent to 1,339.
“On March 15, 2022, data on deaths were adjusted after resolving a coding logic error. This resulted in decreased death counts across all demographic categories,” the CDC said.
A CDC spokeswoman told the Examiner that the agency’s algorithm had inadvertently been including non-COVID-related deaths in the count, leading to the skewed numbers.
“An adjustment was made to COVID Data Tracker’s mortality data on March 14 involving the removal of 72,277 — including 416 pediatric deaths — deaths previously reported across 26 states because CDC’s algorithm was accidentally counting deaths that were not COVID-19-related,” spokeswoman Jasmine Reed said.
“Working with near real-time data in an emergency is critical to guide decision-making, but may also mean we often have incomplete information when data are first reported.”
This raises yet another red flag about the CDC’s data-keeping after it emerged last month that the agency isn’t publishing the vast majority of the data it collects on COVID-19 — including booster shot data on those aged 18 to 49.
Even The New York Times — which is not necessarily known to cast a skeptical eye on “the science” when “the science” suits the leftist agenda — took note of the fact that this happened to be “the group least likely to benefit from extra shots.”
The CDC has said it fears the public would misinterpret the data if left to evaluate it on its own. It’s always nice to know that the people telling me I should “follow the science” don’t actually want me to know what the science is because I might “misinterpret” it and come to a conclusion they don’t like.
Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson called the lack of transparency “disturbing and shameful” in a March 1 letter to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky. “In the midst of a pandemic, it is unacceptable that CDC would withhold relevant data on COVID-19 that could inform the public and potentially save lives,” Johnson wrote.
As for the journalists who used the faulty data to write stories about the heightened risk kids were facing from omicron, Melody Schreiber has deleted several tweets on the matter.
I have deleted the following tweets after the CDC changed its numbers on deaths from Covid, including pediatric deaths, in order to stop the spread of any inaccurate information. I am following up with the CDC about this change and what it means for their data tracking. pic.twitter.com/MlmIvxkXc3
— Melody Schreiber (@m_scribe) March 17, 2022
Her piece in the piece has been changed to note that one-fifth of all pediatric COVID-19 deaths have occurred this year — something that still bears reporting but which is far less dire than the original numbers.
While the data in the new version were updated, the conclusions drawn in the article were materially similar or identical to the original, particularly the assertion that “children seem to be facing increasing risks from Covid-19 even as mask mandates drop across the country, and vaccination rates among children stall out at alarmingly low rates.”
Yes, the risk is increasing, but not at a rate that should induce panic — especially when compared with the very real risks to mental health and childhood development we know come from lockdowns, school closures and mask mandates.
While the mainstream media outlets weren’t wrong to worry about the data before it was corrected, the same level of concern isn’t shown for the millions of children who won’t be touched by the disease but will end up scarred by the preventative measures.
And if the CDC won’t be up front with us on the data it has regarding the virus itself, it’s definitely not going to be forthcoming with anything that reveals the terrible toll our coronavirus policy hath wrought.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.