The DOH will resist as long as it can in releasing accurate breakthrough event data by date of event and age, along with other relevant information. It is simply too damaging. And the refusal to release this data is the strongest possible evidence that in fact it shows what the DOH is trying to hide. The per capita rate nonsense they tried to publish is just obfuscatory drivel–you can’t see the formulas, you can’t see the denominators, you can’t match up dates, you can’t reconcile the data with anything else. Dave Dixon has done his darnest to try to get them to see the light on releasing better data.
I don’t want at all to beat on the DOH staff, they only do what they are told to do by their political masters who sit around and conspire about how to twist the data to match the message. So without any attribution or blame, here is the latest response to Dave on his request for better data and pointing out that the only conclusion people can draw from failure to provide it is that breakthrough deaths are in fact very high:
“In response to below (which was Dave pointing out the proportion of breakthroughs this week), it is completely inaccurate to compare the number of vaccine breakthrough (VBT) deaths reported in a week to the total number of deaths that OCCURRED in week as reported in the COVID-19 Weekly Report. It is also inaccurate to compare the VBT deaths reported “as of the week beginning 10/3” to whatever was posted on the situation update page for that week. Deaths are one of the indicators that have the most significant lag because:
a) death often occurs several weeks after initial infection, and
b) the death data has to be reviewed to determine whether COVID-19 was the cause of death, which takes more time than the review of the data for cases or hospitalization.
This means that the 111 new VBT deaths that were reported this week could have occurred at any point during the VBT reporting time period (May 1 – Oct 9th at present). It is therefore inaccurate to then compare that number to the people whose data of death was the week of 10/3-10/9. It seems you already know this because you ask that we report VBT by date of event rather than reported date. This suggestion has been shared with MDH staff working on VBT data.
We do not currently publish the death counts by week of event however, we do report the death RATES by week of event and you can find that information on the COVID-19 Vaccine Breakthrough Weekly Update”.
You can see the box DOH has put themselves in. All they have to do to fix this is give us the dates of events. But logically they can’t because deaths were lower in mid and late summer and if the breakthroughs really relate to that time period, they are a very high percent of deaths then, even higher than they appear now. And if the lag is that significant, how many breakthrough deaths are really occurring now that we won’t know about for another month. So I don’t disagree at all that it is not optimal to compare the deaths on a reported basis, but that is all they give us. And as I noted above, the rate data is truly trash, and useless, which I am sure is what they also intended.
Now look at the response. See that period May 1 to October 9 that they said we should use for comparison. The state had 1028 deaths by date of event during that time. It had 483 breakthrough deaths during that time. Uhhh, sorry but that is 47% of all deaths. So the comparison the state suggested looks even worse.
But DOH can rest easy, because one way or another I will get them out of their box.