Texas Newspaper Reports Incorrect Covid Numbers for Children

Last week, the Texas Tribune published a false report claiming that more than “5,800 children in Texas were newly hospitalized with Covid-19 in the seven-day period ending on Aug. 8,” a 37% rise over the previous week.

The article, written by Reese Oxner, titled “Texas children and children’s hospitals are under siege from two viruses: RSV and Covid-19,” was meant to cover growing rates of Covid-19 and RSV in children.

Oxner stated, “More children are being treated in Texas hospitals for COVID-19 than ever before. But there’s a second factor that is putting pediatric hospitals on the path to being overwhelmed: an unseasonable outbreak of respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, a highly contagious virus that can require hospitalization mostly among children 5 years and younger and especially infants.”

The paper issued a correction stating, “An earlier version of this story overstated the number of children who have been hospitalized in Texas recently with COVID-19. The story said over 5,800 children had been hospitalized during a seven-day period in August, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That number correctly referred to children hospitalized with Covid-19 since the pandemic began.” The correction also noted, “In actuality, 783 children were admitted to Texas hospitals with Covid-19 between July 1 and Aug. 9 of this year.”

Steven Dennis of Bloomberg took to Twitter to call out the inaccurate report, saying, “That’s one heck of a correction.”

The false report was shared on Twitter by Washington Post reporter Jennifer Rubin, who stated, “Unconscionable: Over 5,800 children in Texas were newly hospitalized with COVID-19 in the seven-day period ending on Aug. 8, a 37% increase from a week prior. Where is the pro-life movement ?? it’s now a death cult.” She later deleted the tweet.

Brent Scher, the executive editor of the Washington Free Beacon, also took to Twitter to highlight the outrageous nature of the mistake. He said, “we reported 5,800 in one week. It was actually 783 in 6 weeks.” He continued, “I did the math here. The claim: 828 hospitalizations a day. Reality: 19 a day. Only off by about 43x.”

The erroneous reporting from the Tribune comes shortly after the CDC corrected inaccurate Covid numbers it published for the state of Florida. However, the harm is already done in both cases. Such reporting has been useful to those arguing in favor of mask mandates and vaccination requirements. These mistakes are also a major reason why millions of Americans have come to distrust the media.


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