What Are We Missing Because of DHHS’s Delinquent Data Reporting? | Beaufort County Now | We have been discussing since May 18 the problem of the NC Dept. of Health and Human Services being last in the nation in reporting death data to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. | john locke foundation, department of health and human services, DHHS, data reporting, august 31, 2020

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

What Are We Missing Because of DHHS’s Delinquent Data Reporting?

Publisher's note: The author of this post is Jon Sanders for the John Locke Foundation.

    We have been discussing since May 18 the problem of the NC Dept. of Health and Human Services being last in the nation in reporting death data to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By July 21, DHHS under Sec. Mandy Cohen had NC dead last and over a month behind all but two states. By August 5, the situation had still not improved.

    North Carolina is still flat dead last in the nation in reporting deaths data to the CDC, and it's not even close. All but three states and jurisdictions have reported deaths data through August 15. West Virginia and Puerto Rico have reported through August 8. Connecticut has reported through July 18.

    Cohen's agency has reported incomplete information only through July 4 — six weeks behind nearly every other state and jurisdiction.

    This delinquency is not only embarrassing, as if we have chosen a data delivery system featuring horse-drawn wagons and hand-carved tablets, but it could be upending the necessity for the CDC using the Excess Deaths metric.

    Here's how the data are used by the CDC:

  • The CDC's Excess Deaths Associated with COVID-19 dashboard is a valuable tool for helping pinpoint an unusual outbreak of deaths in a part of the country, regardless of the reason for the fatalities. It tracks a state's average number of deaths at a point in time, estimated over a number of years, and predicts the "expected deaths" for that period in the future.
  • Of course, actual deaths will differ from a statistical prediction of expected deaths. As long as the actual deaths are below a 95 percent confidence interval for expected deaths, the CDC reckons there are no unusual causes of deaths during that period. If actual deaths exceed that threshold, however, those "excess deaths" alert the CDC that there is an unusual cause of death in that jurisdiction.

    Thanks to DHHS, we don't know if there are causes of excess deaths in North Carolina in July and August. I'm using the plural — causes — deliberately.

    It's becoming increasingly evident that there are other potential excess deaths events taking place beyond deaths owing COVID-19. They would be deaths resulting from the isolation, economic stresses, and government restrictions on businesses and individuals in response to COVID-19.

    Worse, DHHS's daily deaths reporting is also infamously dodgy. How can public health officials know if and what kind of health crises North Carolinians are facing — and be able to take action quickly in response — when our data reports are six weeks late?


HbAD0

Latest Op-Ed & Politics

Today, America's second Fake Impeachment of Donald J. Trump, just days before he leaves office, may speak more about those Impeaching the President than he who is indicted.
For the last four years, Donald Trump kept back the tide. But now, it’s up to Congress.
In her fine opinion piece for the Martin Center, Megan Zogby bemoans the “Quixotic” requirement that North Carolina college and university students take between two and four courses in a language such as Spanish, French, or German.
Andrew McCarthy of National Review Online admits early in his latest column that he believes President Trump has “committed impeachable conduct.”
With civic and political conflict headlining the news nearly every day, I’ve been searching for a bright spot on which to pin my hopes for reconciliation in this country.
According to Politico, Sunday’s rehearsal for Joe Biden’s inauguration has been postponed due to safety concerns, with the rehearsal now being planned for Monday.
Get a good cup of coffee and decompress with The Wolfman as he gives us his account of what really happened on the ground in DC. This is an exclusive series that will not be found anywhere but BCN.

HbAD1

Rich Lowry of National Review Online documents the social media giant’s influence on American political culture.
Pot calling kettle black: Another example of the hypocrisy of the Left/Democrats
More and more school districts are making decisions not to return students to in-class instruction until early spring
Former State Board of Elections Chairman Josh Howard says there could be dire consequences for future elections if the governor is allowed to appoint a judge to a newly created Wake County District Court seat.
Two banks that previously did business with President Donald Trump are cutting him off following the Jan. 6 riot in the U.S. Capitol.
Alan Jacobs’ new book, Breaking Bread with the Dead: A Reader’s Guide to a More Tranquil Mind, is a coaxing argument to read “old books that come from strange times.”

HbAD2

 
Back to Top