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How to recognize media-induced COVID panic

By Pete Bianco

People have had the pants scared off of them in regard to COVID-19. The panic was initiated by a bogus prediction model. Additionally, never before were deaths from a disease tallied daily on television, this alone is nerve wracking.

One panicmaking statement is that new cases for a single day are at an alltime high. However, part of this is due to the fact that there is five times more testing now than in the spring, when deaths were at their worst. More testing discovers more asymptomatic cases.

Also the CDC states on their website The number of positive tests in a state is not equal to the number of cases, as one person may be tested more than once.

Importantly, asymptomatic means that the immune system is working and defeating the disease. We should be celebrating asymptomatic cases as human health successes. So in other words, a recent increase in the percent of those tested who are testing positive, does not necessarily equate to more sick people.

Even as daily deaths are on a decline the corporate media continues to fan the flames of panic. And this panic is not without consequence. Panic attacks can be mistaken for other disorders leading to unneeded medical interventions. Prolonged fear and anxiety are not good for physical and mental health. Besides the issue of total new cases, the recent news panic revolves around Texas, Florida, and Arizona.

How can we asses the data unMEDIAted? Instead of taking the media’s word for it, we can make our own assessments of stories by going straight to the source. Many states have dash boards where you can see the data for yourself. Here is Arizona from their own health department data.


Some who have been convinced by recent media hyperbole point to the fact that hospitalizations are up.

A sensational July 4th New York Times headline reads: As Coronavirus Slams Houston Hospitals, It’s Like New York ‘All Over Again. The the article states, “The death toll is lower, but there are echoes of March as cases spike, doctors fall ill and supplies run short. Former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson criticizes this on twitter stating “Houston: it’s like New York all over again, aside from the minor fact the death rate is 1/50th as high. If you squint hard at this article, you can see the truth creeping in, but you have to know where to look.

Some news sources use the words patients and cases interchangeably. This misleads one into thinking hospitals are at risk when actually many people don’t need hospitalization.

Many news sources talk about cumulative numbers rather than daily numbers. These huge numbers disorient us and feed panic.

For example, in the last week in June, we were told by many news stations that Florida was “spiking”.  At this time, cumulative hospitalizations  in Florida were over 10,000 since COVID hospitalizations began in March.  But if we look at the actual numbers of daily hospitalizations at the time of this “spike”, they were on average 172 per day.  The state of Florida has approximately 325 hospitals, so this means that a few weeks ago during the so called, “spike”, one person was entering a hospital in Florida every other day who tested positive for COVID-19.

In New York State, which has a similar population to Florida, at the peak of hospitalizations back in April, the average of daily hospitalizations was 2,828 people.  So look at the numbers, 172 versus 2828 and ask yourself is Florida really “spiking”?

The map below comes from USA Facts website. It shows deaths by county.

  • Lightest blue  0 
  • Darker blue 1-150
  • Light orange 200 to 1,000
  • Medium orange 1,000-2,000
  • Dark orange 3,000-7,000

How do you want to live the rest of your life?

In the US discussions continue about new lock-downs more restrictions quarantines and fears.

People enjoy the sunny weather in Tantolunden park in Stockholm on May 30, 2020, amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Henrik MONTGOMERY / TT News Agency / AFP) / Sweden OUT (Photo by ) HENRIK MONTGOMERY/TT News Agency/AFP via Getty Images

In Sweden on the other hand, basically no one wears masks and it is not recommended to do so. Daily deaths are approaching zero. There are certainly quite a few changes to “life as usual” in Sweden, but they are not too hard to live with.

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