Post #1384: Just the worst possible sort of news reporting on COVID

Posted on January 4, 2022


Today, this headline caught my eye, from this source.

It caught my eye because it’s that’s not even remotely close to being true.  I just did the numbers this morning.

If you read far enough down into the story, you can see this:

These guys can’t possibly be so stupid as to fail to understand this.  Or, if they are, they shouldn’t be reporting on it.

If a state doesn’t report data for (e.g.) three days, what you see when they finally do report a new case number is four days’ worth of cases.

Just taking a simple average across the states, today’s raw count reflects nearly three days’ worth of cases, on average.

So they just took today’s raw total.  Fully realizing that it reflects cases accumulated over several days.  Then misleadingly added the word “daily” to their headline.  Just to make sure you misunderstood what you were being shown.  And ran with that as their headline.  As if the U.S. had seen a million new COVID-19 cases today.

Isn’t the actual Omicron outbreak scary enough as-is?  Exaggeration would seem to be unnecessary.  But if fear is your main product, rather than information, then any amount of exaggeration you can plausibly justify appears fair game.

It boils down to this:  They aren’t so stupid as to misunderstand what that raw number is.  But they’re hoping that you are.  Hey, they got me to click on it.  I guess that’s all that counts.