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Minnesota Does Not Have The Best Data in the Country, Not Even Close

By December 15, 2020Commentary

The other CV-19 briefing I should comment on, however briefly, is the November 30th one, which was a deep dive into the data, or so we were told by the IB.  Diving into what exactly wasn’t clear, although based on my experience with the data it likely smells and is brownish.  Kind of like falling through a porta-potty, I would think.  The IB said we have, quote “the best, most useful and transparent data”.  The fact that he either believes that or even says it may reflect how clueless he is about what actually is useful to look at.

Here, once again, item by item, is how crappy the Minnesota data is and how hard it is to figure things out, including one very important whole area that we hear nothing on.  And let us be very clear, all this data is in the possession of the state or would be very easy to gather.

Testing–no information on the spread of cycle numbers for PCR tests, because, we have been told, they aren’t available.  Apparently no provision of cycle numbers to treating physicians, either then?  No studies of lab variation, no studies on false positives, no studies on relationship of cycle number to virus viability.  No disclosure of cycle number by lab–hospitals, independents, the state lab, etc.  Physicians need cycle numbers to aid in treatment decisions.  We need to see a distribution of cycle numbers so we know how many “low” positives there are.  We need a study of false positive rates, ideally by lab.  We need virus viability studies so we know when someone is actually likely to be infectious.  Positivity rate is calculated in a way that exaggerates the number of positive cases.  Retests on the same person should be taken out.  Positivity rates without adjustment or explanation of false and low positives are misleading and not useful.

Contact tracing–pretty useless when your testing is probably reporting at least half non-infectious positives.  But give us some detailed information on the process and the results, not broad categorizations with no explanation.  And explain to us why you can’t find the source of transmission of even half of cases, not even close to that.  Yet you use this data to shut down businesses and activities.

Cases–why no presentation of active cases?  Most important number for understanding current course of epidemic?  Why no clear presentation of cases every day for the day they actually relate to?  Making people hunt to figure out what day cases actually occur on gives a misleading picture of the epidemic, particularly given the impact of weekday versus weekend and testing variability due to strategy/location and other changes.  Why no constant antibody and other testing to identify true prevalence?  That also is critical information.

Hospitalizations–probably the worst area.  Still make it hard to track daily census, discharges, and length of stay.  No information on number of people admitted for another reason but having a positive CV-19 test before or at time of admission.  These people likely are never treated for CV-19 in the hospital, so why are they being counted as CV-19 admissions.  No information on how many people got the infection in the hospital.  No information on observation stays or on stays driven by remdesivir use.  No context for the public on typical hospital capacity utilization.  No metrics on hospital days per case unit or trend in that number.  No information on mortality among hospitalized patients.  No information on readmissions.

Deaths–why do you continue to not use date of death reporting?  It is right on the certificate and would be far less misleading.  Routinely tell us place of death statistics.  Routinely tell us what % of supposed deaths have CV-19 as the ultimate underlying cause, what % is it in the intermediate chain, and what % of the time is it just a contributing factor.  Did you engage in death certificate matching, in which you took death certificates and attempted to match them to positive CV-19 tests from weeks or months earlier.  Do a chart review to determine how often CV-19 was actually clinically relevant to death.  How many of the deaths were of people with advanced directives which precluded hospitalization or other intensive treatment.

And here is the whole area with basically nothing.  What harms are being done by the executive orders and the campaign of terror?

What has happened with suicides?

What has happened with mental health visits?

What has happened with drug and alcohol abuse and overdoses?

What is the trend in domestic and child abuse and can you even track with schools and health care shut down?

What has happened to preventive health care visits?

What has happened to disease screenings?

What has happened with vaccinations?

What has happened with visits for care for chronic diseases?

Show us non-CV-19 deaths, by age, by major cause and by place of death.  Show how those deaths compare to prior years’ averages.

Show us the impact on students of not being able to attend real, in-person school.  What are rates of non-attendance?  What has happened to academic performance?

How many jobs lost?

How many businesses gone?

And for each of these, who is most affected, by income, ethnicity or other relevant category.


Join the discussion 6 Comments

  • Chuck says:

    Sad thing is? The State probably has every piece of data you have referenced. Is there any legitimate reason for not providing this information to the public?

  • Chet says:

    I think that the main reasons for not providing the information are 1) it would help prove that the Governor’s responses have been over-blown, and 2) it’s just too much work (suppressed laughter).

    And yes, both of those reasons are terrible reasons to not provide it anyways.

  • Rob says:

    Kevin, for some of the questions is it possible to go to administrative personnel of individual hospitals to get these answers for specific hospitals? The data you would be requesting is sent to the DPH so it should not be considered secret. I’m sure some hospitals would not be forthcoming but a few might. The worst hospitals would likely be the ones that want to hide behind aggregated data.

    I would posit that the worst LTC case/death data comes from the facilities most dependent on government. We all know how hard it is to get specific information about public schools – you only get the bad news when the school is looking for a tax increase. There is no reason to believe the DPH behaves any differently, they run interference for the worst facilities, most of which are completely dependent on government revenue. So it’s basically government covering up its own corruption and incompetence.

    • Kevin Roche says:

      I am sure hospitals have the data. Best thing would be a real research study to do a full chart review, similar to what was done in the Minnesota Medicine article I posted on.

  • Ganderson says:

    Here in Massachusetts our own IB Charlie Baker has taken to telling folksy stories about skeptics he knows that wound up with the Doom. I’m sure his next story will end with “… get out of there, the corona virus is coming from inside the house….”

  • Peggy A Lewis says:

    Good Morning Kevin…

    As an aside, your comment engine wordpress seems to be a hit or miss situation. It could be my end. Never been that tech savvy.

    I’m still thinking on the Genevive Briand Johns Hopkins student newsletter regarding excess deaths where Prof. Briand suggested there were actually minimal excess deaths as a direct result from Sars CoV-2 and that in reality, heart disease was almost non-existent so far this year, suggesting massive miss classification. I know that the CDC has a virtual mess, not unlike our own MDH, but I think if anything points to the overreaction-by-government, it’s the thorough examination of excess deaths in the US.

    So I’m wondering if your data driven brain has found any truth there and hoping it wont take years from now to suss that out.

    Also, it’s no big evidentiary discovery but I found this from July. And if this was happening back then, what in the world is the impact now?

    And in closing, I hope all your followers reading this give support to the brave Restaurants and Eateries opening in defiance of Walz’s stupid, ridiculous, meaningless, baseless shutdown. I suspect there will be “un-reported” openings in far greater number than the official list on Re-openMN FB site. Go have a beer and burger if you aren’t at risk, have already been sick as me and my hubby have, or just talk openly and bravely to those around you about the right of an establishment to actually earn revenue without the interference of Govt.

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