The Pandemic News is Bad Enough Without Lying About the Numbers

David Mokotoff, MD
3 min readAug 13, 2021

Two recent “accicental” cases of miscounting highlight why people don’t trust the media or government

Courtesy of gettyimages.com

The Texas Tribune erroneously reported 5800 children were hospitalized in the state the first week of August. It turns out this number was since the start of the pandemic. That’s not a small error. Yesterday, August 12, the paper issued an unapologetic emendation, “Correction, August 12, 2021: An earlier version of this story overstated the number of children who have been hospitalized in Texas recently with COVID-19. The story said over 5,800 children had been hospitalized during a seven-day period in August, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That number correctly referred to children hospitalized with COVID-19 since the pandemic began. In actuality, 783 children were admitted to Texas hospitals with COVID-19 between July 1 and August 9 of this year”.

Jennifer “pro-voting” Rubin, an “MSNBC contributor and writer for the Washington Post, then tweeted the erroneous report in pious disgust, “unconscionable: Over 5,800 children in Texas were newly hospitalized with COVID-19 in the seven-day period ending on Aug. 8, a 37% increase from a week prior. where is the pro-life movement ?? it’s now a death cult”. 2.2 thousand followers retweeted it. A quick review of her tweets did not show an apology, but the damage was done by then.

The CDC also miscalculated the number of new cases in Florida last week by compressing three days of numbers into one. The CDC blamed Florida because it now only sends them weekly instead of daily numbers. I guess they are too busy to do simple math. Without apologizing, the center admitted the error and then blamed the state for the manner of its reporting.

Death rates are still much lower than at the peak of the pandemic

I don’t deny that the numbers are not good in Texas and Florida, partly due to low vaccination rates and large black and Hispanic populations. Florida and Texas rank numbers 24 and 37 respectively for fully vaccinated citizens. The discrepancy by race, however, has been narrowing. Hospital beds, both regular and intensive care, are under pressure in both states. Death rates are still much lower than at the peak of the pandemic. This can be partly…

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David Mokotoff, MD

David Mokotoff is a retired MD, passionate about health, science, medicine culture, and food, https://tinyurl.com/y7bjoqkd