Lost to follow-up Covid cases from the horse’s mouth
One week after a follow-up with the Ministry of Citizens’ Services, the official Covid cases were released on the BC government’s website as they have been for what seems like an eternity at this point. But there was a new line of text; a disclaimer. Discontinued isolations were finally mentioned once more in this new note, as an exclusion. Beyond this, the disclaimer further revealed a second bias hidden in the statistics. (2)
Note: Active cases exclude those who have died, discontinued isolation or been lost to followup.BC Gov News – December 30, 2021.
Outside this standard and routine news release by the BC government on December 30, 2021, no other account of lost to follow-up cases exist on any public record directly regarding official Covid case updates. This information is, however, known to clinical scientists as a variable and a limitation in scientific studies. For example, large numbers of lost to follow-up cases occurred in unrelated clinical trials throughout various research communities due to a loss of patients and test subjects after the pandemic began. But the BC Gov News’ release on December 30 is the first acknowledgment of a lost to follow-up bias for Covid cases on the public register.
Does bias in the official records damage national integrity?
This means that government bodies have chosen to go against science and instead hide limitations and potentially uncontrolled biases in official statistics, keeping those details a secret. What’s more, it appears that those limitations are only revealed once enough individuals send the right FOIA and Access to Information Requests. Or, at least, limitations are exclusively disclosed after formal requests from multiple journalists reveal enough discrepancies in the governing bodies’ plan.
We don’t know how many of the patients sick with Covid but lost to follow-up were vaccinated or otherwise. If vaccinated patients were to become lost in the official hospital data after follow-up, it would falsely appear to be predominantly unvaccinated Covid patients filling hospital wards. The same is true for discontinued isolations; keeping in mind that the vaccine does keep symptoms down without eliminating viral load. So what started in August of 2021, will continue into the new year as this author continues to send FOIA requests to better scope information the BC Ministry of Health hides away from the public.
If we take all the datasets, private and public combined, how many vaccinated, Covid-positive patients, do you think are in BC hospitals? Let us know in the comments if you think it supports science to keep non-infectious cases and other limitations a provincial secret.
Note from the author: A new request has been issued for data on discontinued isolations targetting specific weeks rather than days, with or without vaccination status. Further requested was the percentage or number of lost to follow-up cases on the same weeks (or days). Stay tuned for an update, these things take time.
- Marielle Tounsi, Covid Communications, BC Ministry of Health. 09/24/2021.
- BC Gov News. COVID-19 pandemic update. 12/30/2021.
- FOIA response, BC Ministry of Citizen Services. 12/22/2021.
- Secrecy over B.C.’s true number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients. CTV News. 09/21/2021.
- BC Gov News. How B.C. counts its daily COVID-19 cases in hospitals. 09/24/2021.
Title photo by @PennyDaflos courtesy of Twitter.