September 27, 2022:- It’s amazing what you can not find out when you don’t try. And the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is definitely not trying to find out something that most of us would find quite helpful, especially if we wanted to learn how to protect people against COVID-19.
Today I learned that the Commonwealth’s public health agency no longer tracks the number of people who are “fully vaccinated” against COVID-19 who have gone on to catch COVID-19 anyway (the disease that the vaccines were supposed to stop them catching).
A good leaving alone
Today I learned that instead of tracking those numbers, the Commonwealth is giving them a good leaving alone, as Howie Carr would say.
What does this lack of curiosity on the part of State government have to do with the practice of law? I will tell you.
Readers may know that I represent a number of people who worked for agencies of the Commonwealth until the Governor ordered them to be injected with products advertised as “COVID-19 vaccines.” For religious reasons, my clients were not able to comply, so they requested exemption from the mandate on religious grounds. The State denied their requests. And then the State discharged them.
In defending itself against charges of religious discrimination, the State says that letting workers carry on working without being injected would have caused undue hardship because these un-injected workers posed a threat. Of course, that defense rests entirely on the premise that the injections would have stopped the workers from catching and spreading the disease. It falls rather flat if it turns out that the injections do not really do that.
August 6: The day the calculator stood still
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) used to publish regular reports that showed the growing number of “fully vaccinated” people who have caught COVID-19 (the disease that the vaccines were supposed to stop them catching). Public health officials refer to these as “breakthrough cases.”
Those regular reports stopped in early July when the number of breakthrough cases reached 617,337, i.e. 11.4% of all the fully vaccinated people in Massachusetts. As I mentioned in a previous post, that figure only includes the cases that people report to their healthcare providers.
For most people who display some symptoms, those symptoms are mild (e.g. sore throat, slight cough, and runny nose) and do not require a visit to a healthcare provider. If a person with COVID-19 does not report the infection to a healthcare provider, nobody enters the case into a healthcare provider’s database, and it does not appear in the department’s figures.
So the official figure does not does not include people who are fully vaccinated and then contract COVID-19 but do not report the fact to a healthcare provider. This means that the number 617,337 (11.4% of the fully vaccinated population) is an undercount.
The last report was dated July 5, 2022. Because I am curious (which, in and of itself, probably disqualifies me from a job in the upper reaches of State government) I asked DPH for records showing the number of COVID-19 breakthrough cases from July 6 to the date of the response.
Today the Department responded. According to State Epidemiologist Catherine Brown, the number of breakthrough cases reported in the period June 26-August 6, 2022 (41 days) was 38,015.
That’s a lot of new infections in just 41 days. But what about after August 6?
The Department does not have a responsive record for data after August 6, 2022, as the analysis is not performed routinely, and no analysis has been performed beyond that date.
Why? Why has the Department not analyzed data beyond that date? The letter does not say. And that is why I just submitted another public records request.
A simple question
In my new public records request, I am asking for records that embody or reflect the reason why, after August 6, 2022, the Department stopped analyzing COVID-19 breakthrough cases. Why seems like such a simple question.
As for the answer, I will keep you posted.