Is the COVID-19 pandemic spiraling out of control?
As the delta variant continues to spread, recent weeks have seen many news outlets claim as much.
However, in many of these cases, outlets are engaging in what seems to be a dishonest bait-and-switch — where their coverage was once focused on the fatality rate and number of COVID deaths, now it seems to be centered on the number of new COVID cases.
From The Western Journal:
Due to the seemingly dishonest, shifting nature of this coverage, The Western Journal has decided to provide regular updates on the COVID fatality rate in the United States as it changes over time. These statistics are taken from Our World in Data, a trusted source on COVID-related statistics.
Aug. 16, 2021, Update:
In August, the U.S. continues to experience its lowest COVID-related fatality rate since the onset of the pandemic — roughly 0.66 percent.
Despite this, the majority of coverage on COVID over the week prior (Aug. 8 to Aug. 15) avoided reporting the fatality rate or overall death statistics, opting instead to cover the rising number of COVID cases.
The best example of this is seen in reporting from The New York Times.
A number of such stories published by the Times lamented the growing threat of the delta variant and its hand in the rising number of cases without once mentioning the plummeting fatality rate.
This included stories such as “Taylor Mac’s ‘Joy and Pandemic’ Is Postponed as Covid Cases Surge,” “Jason Isbell and Stevie Nicks cancel shows over COVID concerns,” “Coronavirus Briefing: What Happened Today” and “Virus Misinformation Spikes as Delta Cases Surge,” among others.
One of the only Times stories to mention COVID deaths was “We Studied One Million Students. This Is What We Learned About Masking,” published on Aug. 10.
The story suggested that, despite their rarity, COVID deaths among children are too prevalent and, because of this, mask mandates must be enforced for children.
“Schools that do not require masks will have more coronavirus transmission,” the article read.
“And while mortality from Covid was only two per 100,000 school-age children as of April, with more than 50 million public school children in the United States, that could still mean many avoidable deaths of children in a year.”
The data on child mortality for COVID cited by the story shows that, in 2020, deaths caused by injury, suicide, cancer, homicide, congenital anomalies, heart disease, chronic lower respiratory diseases, cerebrovascular complications and even influenza were all more common than those related to COVID among children ages 1-17.
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