On his VDU's blog, Dr. Ian Mackay has a detailed and important post: Epidemiology without dates is just -ology.... After discussing the recently "found" 113 MERS cases and comparing the Command and Control Center's data with that of the Al-Rabiah MOH, Dr. Mackay writes:
Much has been made by the media, some of it with comments from me[2,8], of these events. Some have noted that there is now a new sense of transparency about. While I don't argue with reports and comments about a range of collaborative efforts now/already underway (which is great news) and the need to acknowledge things when they improve, I do question how the retraction of some key data, essential for public epidemiology efforts, data that were fine to be included (inconsistent as they were even then) previously, can be labelled as transparency. I certainly do not think those actions meet up to this statement (bolding is mine)...
"Based on the findings of the review, the Ministry has already put in place a number of measures to ensure that best practices of data gathering, reporting, transparency are being strictly observed.."
I've stated before, for H7N9 and for MERS that we, the public, do not have a right to such data, even though its de-identified and the privacy of the patient is protected. We may feel entitled, but we are not. So long as the WHO and appropriate Committees or experts are aware of the facts and can judge the risk to the world, then that is the main issue.
Of course, I'd much rather we lived in a world where such relatively innocuous data were available, and complete. But whether or not we get to play with useful and rich data is a separate issue to the difference between saying something is so and it actually being the case.
There has been an increase in the presentation quality (prettiness) of data but a decrease in the data presented, since the CCC website came online. That's a fact.