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NSW Health ‘erased’ data used in weekly Covid surveillance reports | May 27, 2023

Like many Australians cooped up during Covid lockdowns, Xin Yin Ooi found herself “obsessed” with weekly updates from health authorities, poring over case numbers, vaccinations, hospitalisations and deaths.

As a data analyst, the Sydney woman was naturally interested in the detailed statistical breakdowns provided in NSW Health’s weekly surveillance report — so when she noticed a strange figure in one table, she decided to request the underlying numbers to check the work for herself.

The only problem? The data had been “erased”.

“It was a big shock,” Ms Ooi said.

“In the early days of Omicron, our Premier, Health Minister, chief health officer, every day at the press briefing I remember vividly they were saying, ‘The data shows two doses are not enough, you need three to deal with Omicron.’ They kept repeating, ‘the data, the data’ — it’s just unbelievable they would erase the data.”


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