Watching the local news is part of my morning routine. I make my coffee. I turn on the TV and tune to the local news to play in the background while I read the newspaper. Yes, I am old. I like the local news team I watch. They are a good team and they seem to enjoy working together. I mainly only pay close attention to the weather. I have, however, paid attention to how they cover the Covid numbers, and the way they do it drives me crazy.
First, the conspiracy theory portion – The CDC Covid Tracker website has a map that shows Covid rates at a county level. The ones with high and substantial rates are the places they recommend everyone wear a mask. The local news showed this map consistently when the numbers were bad. Now that a number of our counties have dropped from high to substantial and we have two counties at moderate. the map has disappeared from the broadcast. And they wonder why people think the media plays a part in pushing an agenda.
Now, the minor annoyance part – the way they report the number of deaths and hospitalizations is inaccurate.
Deaths – all of the deaths are tragic no matter when they happened. It bugs me though when they continually report that X number of people died in the last 24 hours when it is actually X number of deaths were reported in the last 24 hours. If we want a clear picture of the state of the pandemic now, we need to make it clearer what the current number is vs the historical numbers. The reporting delay is not too bad in Maryland, but in some places, they are still reporting deaths from months ago. The news can’t say these deaths occurred in the past 24 hours. It isinaccurate.
Hospitalizations – When they report the number of hospitalizations they also do it inaccurately. For example, Saturday the number of people in the hospital for Covid dropped by 16. The news reported that 16 people were released from the hospital. If that was accurate, that would mean no one was admitted to the hospital and that is not true. The number dropped by 16, but that means 16 more people were released than admitted. It doesn’t mean 16 people were released from the hospital.
I know these both seem petty and probably are, but I think accuracy is important when reporting the news. Especially when it comes to something like Covid numbers.