Utterly fake news on Covid situation in Oregon

Utterly fake news on Covid situation in Oregon

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Another 54 people died from COVID-19, the Oregon Health Authority said, tied for the most deaths recorded in a single day since the pandemic began.

Source: 54 more Oregon deaths tied to November-December COVID surge | KOIN.com

The media does not understand the daily body counts. The daily number is the total number of death reports received in the prior 24 hours – because of lags in death reporting, the actual deaths occurred on days, weeks or even months ago. Thus, the daily body count is a measure of public health reporting efficiency (or inefficiency) and has absolutely nothing to do with disease severity.

Because public health took the holidays off, only now – in the middle of January – are they catching up with deaths over the holidays (just before Christmas through New Years). Essentially all of these deaths were of persons who were diagnosed BEFORE the holidays. These deaths are not an indicator of a holiday surge.

My state’s press release, when it shows, as for example, 54 deaths yesterday, also includes a summary showing the date of diagnosis and the actual date of death. I re-tally the actual date of death – and draw my own charts based on actual date of death.

When we do this, we discover that the maximum number of people to have died in a 24 hour period was 33 on December 9th, and the 2nd highest total was 29 on November 25th.

You can see this trend in this 7-day moving average chart. Deaths are the dark reddish/brown line and green is the daily number of new positive test cases.

Because of the pattern – diagnosis (new cases) precede hospitalizations, which precede ICU bed counts, which precede death.

There is a median of 12 days from diagnosis to hospitalization, and 3 to 4 weeks from diagnosis to deaths.

From the above, clearly we peaked a month ago.

The media points to an imaginary post holiday surge. I could write an entire post just on that topic.

To illustrate the media’s incompetence, before Christmas we had another “54 dead” daily report. This was cited as proof of a Thanksgiving surge. In reality, 39 of the 54 deaths reported that day occurred before Thanksgiving weekend, or were diagnosed before Thanksgiving weekend. The very large majority of deaths were related to events before Thanksgiving!

The reporters created a fake holiday surge out of a report on deaths that they did not understand, because they were too lazy to do the work needed to understand what they were reporting on.

Sadly, much of the news coverage on Covid-19 is false and misleading. The media is absolute garbage when you consider the impact this shitty reporting has on the public’s understanding.

I had an exchange with someone on social media who insisted that new cases are rising, deaths are rising (in this state) and we must keep schools closed. I have no opinion on the schools issue but I shared the chart showing that the data shows we peaked weeks ago and have been in decline ever since. I argued I had to be wrong. I then sent him our state’s charts showing the same thing. He then begrudgingly acknowledged the data but insisted it was not going to get much worse because of the post holiday surge – and therefore, schools must remain closed the rest of the school year.

This illustrates the direct damage done by fake news reports from fake reporters at TV stations such as KOIN TV in Portland.

Notes

  1. Death reporting lags by a lot. While most deaths within the past 2 weeks are accumulated, it sometimes takes weeks or months for the death reports to appear in the daily body count. Consequently, we know that the brownish red line will rise in future charts as they get caught up with past deaths.
  2. The tally of daily deaths is taken from the state’s Daily Update report. However, this is prone to two types of errors. One, they revised past data and announce the revisions in a way that it is near impossible to go back and correct past tallies. This occurs because the state has frequently reported individuals dying twice, some individuals who died turned out not have died, and some non-Covid deaths from the past are later re-assigned as Covid deaths. In the overall scheme, this is low single digit percent error and is not visible in the 7-day moving average line. Second, I may make transcription errors when re-tallying the state’s data. Again, this error is small and has minor impact on the lines. Ultimately, our interest is in the trend of the line.

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