What data might we have been looking at then? | R.L.

Once upon a time in the history of the pandemic, the “data” were comprehensible within the parameters of how the pandemic was. Up and down yo-yoed the daily numbers of cases, as did everything else.

Peaks came and went, and then Omicron arrived, smashing all “records”, facilitating announcements of previously unheard-of numbers as though they were some peculiar trophy to hold aloft, and rendering the one-time comprehensible far less so.

Current data aren’t meaningless, but nor are they meaningful. They can’t hope to be when the pandemic dynamic has shifted as dramatically as it has. I share the frustrations of those with what the Balearic government, for one, produces under the banner of the “most relevant reference data” - the headlining daily numbers that conceal a great deal of explanatory data. One example - thousands of new cases per day; yes, and what is their actual health status, given the way in which Omicron has spread so widely and rapidly?

The Spanish government is now alive to the altered circumstances and to an abandonment of the daily head count in favour of more representative sampling. A sensible move, so long as changed reporting doesn’t lose sight of what still remains a serious public health threat and needs to therefore be conveyed.

One doubts that this will be so, because for all that the parameters have moved, as one leading immunologist, Alfredo Corell, has put it - without vaccines, Omicron would have caused “a stratospheric massacre”. What data might we have been looking at then?