by Jon Sanders
Research Editor and Senior Fellow, Regulatory Studies, John Locke Foundation
Last July, I showed that the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) under state health bureaucrat Mandy Cohen lagged the rest of the nation in reporting death data to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At the time the lag was one and a half months.
In August, I asked “What are we missing because of DHHS’s delinquent data reporting?” I explained why those data are so important to people who care about the health of their fellow citizens:
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?
By January, DHHS was three months behind. I warned that “It’s not just slack; it could be deadly”:
It could keep health officials from being alerted to an excess death event in North Carolina outside of COVID-19. Namely, excess deaths owing to the unintended effects of Cooper’s severe restrictions against people and businesses supposedly to keep them safe from COVID-19.
By March, DHHS was three and a half months behind. In my research series on “Research warns lockdowns and other restrictions have deadly consequences. What about Cooper’s?” I wrote:
These findings suggest the effects of Cooper’s lockdown and severe personal and business restrictions have indeed been deadly, confirming the warnings from scientists, physicians, economists, mental health experts, and others over the past year.
This other, non-COVID death event — how bad did it get, or how bad has it gotten in the ensuing months? We can’t know, because the Cooper administration’s data reporting is so incomplete and far behind. Would Cooper have kept his orders all in place if he knew back in the fall about these non-COVID deaths? Would he have tightened them as he did? We can’t know that either.
But lives have been in the balance as DHHS dithered and Cooper kept tightening orders. They still are.
The irresponsibility of the Cooper administration continues to worsen. Checking the CDC Excess Deaths site today, I find that while the United States is updated into the month of June (June 5), DHHS’s laxity has us reporting only through January 30.
Here are screenshots today:
It’s summer. Cohen’s department can’t even be bothered to finish reporting the other half of winter.