The supposed surge in American children being killed by Covid-19 amid rapid spread of the Omicron variant perhaps didn’t happen after all, as the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revised its data with a sharply lower death toll.
The agency’s Covid Data Tracker was updated this week with lower death tolls across all age groups, reducing the overall count by more than 71,000, including by 416 deaths of children. Prior to the fix, the CDC had claimed that 1,755 US children had succumbed to the virus, including 738 this year, amid the Omicron outbreak.
Legacy media outlets and vaccine advocates had cited the erroneous data to suggest that Omicron is particularly dangerous for children, further justifying that they be inoculated against Covid-19. Last November, CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky referred to the agency’s tracking figures in calling for regulatory approval to vaccinate children as young as five.
Journalist Melody Schreiber, who authored an article for The Guardian last week on pediatric Covid-19 deaths during the Omicron surge, deleted her Twitter posts about the trend on Thursday, after the CDC figures were changed. Her article claimed that “children seem to be facing increasing risks as mask mandates are abandoned and vaccination rates stall.” Her article was revised to cite a lower toll based on death certificates for cases “involving Covid-19.”
The agency has revised its tracking data at least three times during the pandemic. It issued no public statement on the latest change, burying its explanation in a footnote on the Data Tracker website. “On March 15, 2022, data on deaths were adjusted after resolving a coding logic error. This resulted in decreased death counts across all demographic categories.”
Amended CDC tracking figures reduced the US death toll to around 780,000 from more than 851,000. A separate government tally, compiled from death certificates for cases involving Covid-19, totals 967,000, including 921 children. Although that count for children apparently includes some who died while infected with the virus – but not because of it – it’s lower than the more than 1,300 pediatric Covid-19 deaths recorded on the revised CDC Data Tracker.
The latest CDC error comes to light just a month after revelations that the agency had purposely held back pandemic data that it didn’t trust the public to interpret correctly. For instance, the CDC kept hidden its figures breaking down Covid-19 hospitalizations by age, race and inoculation status, partly because it didn’t want to reveal the large number of Americans who suffered serious illnesses from the virus despite being fully vaccinated.