The New York Times on Wednesday reported that coronavirus hospitalizations have risen dramatically and are nearing their April peak. The Times, however, either overlooked or ignored a serious factor: Way more states are reporting hospitalizations now than were reporting at the April peak.
“The rising hospitalizations reflect the scale of serious illnesses,” the Times said. “Nearly as many people are in hospitals now as there were when New York was at its worst.” The latter part is true. The Times notes that as of July 22, 59,628 people were being treated in hospitals for the Wuhan virus. During the peak of the outbreak on April 15, when New York was the nation’s hot spot, 59,940 were hospitalized for the virus. The data comes from The Atlantic’s COVID Tracking Project, which collects virus data daily from all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C., and five U.S. territories.
“[H]ospitalizations may be the clearest measure of how widely the virus is causing the most serious illnesses, and could offer a glimpse of what is ahead,” the New York Times reports.
The problem is that the article’s own source reveals that the spike in numbers can be partly attributed to the fact that Florida, the country’s third-most-populous state, began reporting hospitalizations only two weeks ago, meaning sheer hospitalization numbers are not the clearest measure of the virus’s seriousness— at least not the way the Times compares them.
A deeper dive into the data reveals Florida wasn’t the only addition to hospitalization counts. On April 15, a total of 37 states and territories were included in the near-60,000 hospitalization figure, with New York bearing the brunt of the caseload. July’s so-called spike includes data from 52 states and territories. (Read more from “NYT Falsely Claims Huge Spike in COVID-19 Hospitalizations” HERE)