Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has called out the CDC for being “anti-science,” and it looks like there’s one more thing that he could point to today that would support his claim.
There are two things that you look at when you are judging a virus — transmissibility and severity.
While the Wuhan coronavirus is quite transmissible, it’s not as severe in effect as, for instance, Ebola which has a far greater lethality.
But how transmissible is the new Delta variant that the Biden bunch are flipping out over?
— Hayley Wielgus (@HayleyWielgus) July 31, 2021
Then, of course, the media spread that everywhere. Notice the assistance of Dr. Zeke Emanuel in promoting that claim.
— Andrea Mitchell (@mitchellreports) July 30, 2021
Naturally, that makes people then overreact to the news.
But as NPR reports, this wasn’t true.
The CDC Said The Delta Variant Is As Contagious As Chickenpox. That's Not Accurate https://t.co/1qo1q53cib
— NPR Health News (@NPRHealth) August 11, 2021
Evolutionary biologist and biostatistician Tom Wenseleers at the University of Leuven in Belgium explained the difference between the Delta variant and chickenpox transmissibility. The R0 or “R naught” is the number of people a sick person will infect, on average, when the entire population is vulnerable to the virus. For chickenpox, that number is around 9 or 10 people. For the Delta variant, it is less, he said — somewhere between 6 and 7. Still highly transmissible, and more than the original strain which was between 2 and 3, but not the same as chickenpox.
So how did they get this so wrong, saying it was “just as transmissible?”
For one, the leaked document underestimated the R0 for chickenpox and overestimated the R0 for the delta variant. “The R0 values for delta were preliminary and calculated from data taken from a rather small sample size,” a federal official told NPR. The value for the chickenpox (and other R0s in the slideshow) came from a graphic from The New York Times, which wasn’t completely accurate.
Whoops. Once again making comments and policy based upon something that’s just wrong and would justify more fear. So how are they being held accountable for spreading stuff like this that is just wrong?
Were they trying to make it seem like they had very robust evidence for their reversal on masks? Were they trying to get people's attention?
Or, say, did the slides represent a minority/heterodox view within the CDC, some individual who disagreed with the agency's take on Delta?
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) August 11, 2021
The internet isn't real life and neither are NYT headlines, but I've met multiple not-online people in real life whose understanding was that Delta is as contagious as chicken pox *even among vaccinated people.* The CDC document and the reporting on it were just abysmal. https://t.co/PKDhhAT6He
— Kevin 👐 Glass (@KevinWGlass) August 11, 2021