The Dangers In Bad Covid Reporting

By MCR Staff - 10/19/2021

For most of two years, the media has kept the public fixated on COVID-19 statistics. How many people have COVID? How many are hospitalized? How many are vaccinated? How many have died of COVID? But are the statistics presented accurately? Do those presenting the figures have political motivations that affect the message?

What is consistent about the statistics Americans have received over the course of the last two years are the inconsistencies. Reports are often incomplete, ill-defined, or presented in a highly subjective tone. The result is that many who think themselves well informed on the subject are often misinformed.

Consider the terminology that is used when conveying this 'data.' Do people understand the difference between "Positivity Rate" and "Transmission Rate"? When COVID deaths are reported, is the cause of death actually COVID or are there other causes?

How are these figures measured and calculated? And who is doing the counting?

Asking friends and neighbors is liable to elicit a wide range of answers about COVID-19. The most honest among us are likely to say, "I don't know."

In many cases, it appears that the misleading information from some sources is intentional. The media actively sought to make the crisis appear as bleak as possible when Donald Trump was president. Now that Joe Biden is in the White House, though we've actually seen more deaths from COVID in 2021 than 2020, the daily death tolls are often absent from news reports. Instead, we receive occasional reports with far less hype.

When stories are presented in this fashion, they no longer belong in that respected category known as 'news' but, instead, fit in that less-respectable classification known as propaganda.

From a journalistic perspective, this is irresponsible. In reality, it's more than that; it's dangerous. Intentional mischaracterizations provide the public with a false perception of the state of affairs in our nation and world. Individuals are more likely to succumb to panic and a panicked crowd is a herd that is easily turned to follow an intended course.

As a result, we have Americans who are quick to obey mandates which they might reconsider or reject if they were better informed.

Fortunately, there are some who are not as easily cowed. These are the people who look to more than one source for their information and make reasonably educated decisions.

So far, in McHenry County, we are told that 330 deaths are attributable to COVID. But the Center for Disease Control simply changed the death certificate procedures in March of 2020 in a way that falsely inflates the COVID death count by a significant factor. The real figure could be as low as 50 or even 30.

Even the 330 figure, however, represents about .1 percent (one-thousandth of a percent) of the population of 310,000. During the same period, the total number of deaths in McHenry County from all causes was approximately 2,900. The 330 figure represents about eight percent of that number.

Even the CDC-modified number hardly justifies a vaccine mandate. In the meantime, Americans are well served to ask why their CDC would adjust the numbers to create a more dire perception of the effects of the virus.

Unlike the CDC and the media, the McHenry County Health Department has resisted temptations to characterize COVID data. A visit to their Website (click for MCHD Covid Dashboard) will give you clear and understandable information related to the pandemic.