By: Mark Glennon*
In the Illinois Department of Public Health’s April 8 online coronavirus update for hospitals and healthcare providers, which Wirepoints has obtained, the Chief of the Communicable Disease Section said this:
Hospitalization, as I showed on the severity side – it’s very important for us to know the number that are being hospitalized and what comorbidities are present, and whether they’re being admitted to the ICU [intensive care unit] as well. [T]hat’s the most important information that we are looking for. [Emphasis added.]
That information is most important for the public to know for the same reasons it is most important for IDPH to know, as Wirepoints and others have been writing repeatedly.
But Illinois continues to hide information on hospitalizations, capacity and utilization for beds, ICU and ventilators.
Pursuant to state directive, healthcare providers are sending those numbers daily to IDPH. IDPH receives those numbers for each hospital separately, compiles the totals, categorizes them by region and – Governor JB Pritzker has claimed – calculates and looks at three-day moving averages.
But if you’d like so see that, you’d have to ask once a day and you will only get grand totals for the previous day. We’ve been doing that and compiled it for you here.
The public, however, sees none of that. Why not release all the data so everybody can see and make their own judgements? And why not provide the rest, like names of the hospitals that might actually have a capacity issue. Which hospitals are in crisis for a different reason — empty beds? Which regions are good and bad? IDPH has that regional breakdown but won’t give it out. Pritzker says he prefers to look at three-day moving averages. Good idea. Let’s see them.
From the information we can get, it’s already clear to us that Pritzker’s demands for resources have far exceeded what was needed, and that’s not based on hindsight, as we detailed earlier. An exception is personal protective equipment at certain locations.
Both Pritzker and his public health director wouldn’t answer reporters who, at least twice, asked expressly for this data over the last several days. Pritzker has also refused earlier, direct requests to provide the models and projections he says he is relying on.
Pritzker is effectively saying, “Just trust us. Never mind the numbers behind the curtain.” He has been stage managing the facts and data since the crisis started. Nobody should judge anything about this crisis based on what any politician says – not Pritzker, President Trump or anybody else. The federal government, too has been derelict on releasing the data we really need.
Tough decisions are now at hand about how and when to begin lifting stay-at-home rules. They must be based on science, as Pritzker tells us constantly, but where’s his science? He has said he is cautiously optimistic that the numbers are flattening, but vagaries like that aren’t enough.
Decisions also need to be based on the extent of the economic carnage caused by the shutdowns, which Illinois has yet to even broach.
Finally, decisions must reflect consideration of the intrusions on individual liberty now in place, which are immense.
Those are not matters we should blindly entrust to any government.
*Mark Glennon is founder of Wirepoints.
Other articles we have published on this topic:
- Illinois’ COVID-19 crisis: Daily data update
- Illinois’ expected deaths, hospital resource needs drop dramatically under IHME’s latest COVID-19 forecast – April 11
- Here are the details on COVID-19 hospitalization numbers Illinois should have collected and published weeks ago – April 9
- Illinois Finally Starts Collecting Key Coronavirus Hospitalization Info. The Backstory is Shameful. – April 6.
- Why is Mayor Lightfoot talking about 40,000 Chicago hospitalizations when projections for all Illinois show just 9,300 at the peak? – April 2
- Illinois Still Not Providing Essential Covid-19 Hospitalization Numbers – April 1
- Who Are the Real ‘Covidiots,’ Rich Miller? – March 30
- Unacceptable: Illinois and Certain Other States Not Releasing COVID Hospitalization Numbers – March 27