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Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Mainstream media goes all in with ‘panic porn’ over COVID-19

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Former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson has a perfect name for the mainstream media’s coverage of COVID-19: Panic Porn.

Take this headline: “COVID-19 hospitalizations in Texas hit another record Monday.”

“Hospitalizations of patients with the novel coronavirus in Texas reached an all-time high Monday after breaking records for nearly every day the previous two weeks,” the Fort Worth Star-Telegram wrote Monday.

The MSM have pumped out story after story about hospitals — and especially intensive care units — becoming jammed with COVID-19 patients. And the reports from early on in the pandemic have returned: Hospitals will soon become overrun with critically ill patients.

But are those “facts”? Are the reports complete? Do they take into account all factors that may be contributing to both the rise in positive tests for COVID-19 and the reason for hospitalizations? And what about the rising number of positive tests for the virus? What’s causing that? Are we even dealing with “facts”?

Mr. Berenson, who has been a shining beacon in the world of shoddy and biased reporting, says no. And he does something few MSM outlets do any more: He provides facts.

On Monday, Mr. Berenson quoted messages he’d received from J.B. Neiman, a managing partner and general counsel of a Texas-based health care company that owns 13 free-standing clinics, who got in touch because he “wants people to hear his story as opposed to the mainstream media.”

Here’s what Mr. Neiman said:

“In June, we tested over 2,231 patients (data through last Thursday). Positive rate is now close to 20% (was 4-6% in May). Vast majority of the cases are mild to very mild symptoms. Average age of the people getting tested in mid-30s.

“Very different patient (in terms of age) than we’ve seen before June. Most of these patients would not have met criteria that we previously had (and all the health facilities had) for Covid testing. Now with more testing kits we are able to test a broader group of patients.

“Clinically, we’ve had very few hospital transfers because of Covid. Vast majority of the patients are better within 2-3 days of the visit and most would be described as having a cold (a mild one at that) or the symptoms related to allergies. We’ve often provided a steroid shot and some antibiotics. By the time we have follow-up calls, most of the patients are no longer experiencing any symptoms. They often say the shot really made a difference.

“In terms of what is driving them to the ER — Roughly 1/2 have been told by their employers to get a test. They have a sneeze or a cough and their employer tells them to go get tested. The other 1/2 just want to know. They have mild symptoms (and some don’t have any symptoms but game the system and check a box that they have a symptom so they can get a test — they cannot get a test unless they present with symptoms. If they have no symptoms we send them away — which does happen.)

He continued:

“The average length of stay of Covid patients is 3-5 days. Much lower than the patients being seen in April and early May. Their symptoms are also milder. Most of the patients are not ending up in the ICU. The hospital ICUs are filled with really sick people with non-Covid issues. They [didn’t] come in earlier because they were scared and now they are super sick. From multiple sources at different hospitals — they have plenty of capacity and no shortage of acute care beds.

“No real data on breakdown of patients who have Covid but are not in the hospital because of Covid. Recognition that because all patients are tested for Covid you have some percentage of patients listed as Covid patients who are non Covid symptomatic and that the hospitalization rate is somewhat driven by hospitals taking their normal patients with other medical issues.

“Finally, heard several stories of how discharge planners are being pressured to put Covid as primary diagnosis — as that pays significantly better. Hospitals want to avoid the discussion but if they don’t they risk another shutdown. This may be an explanation for why there is a gap in hospital executives saying they have plenty of capacity and the increasing number of Covid hospitalizations. You open up your hospitals for normal medical care and you test everyone of those patients — the result is higher percentage of patients who have Covid — now.”

Then Mr. Neiman summed it all up:

“Overall, based on what we are seeing at our facilities, the above information is really a positive story. You have more people testing positive with really minimal symptoms. This means that the fatality rate is less than commonly reported,” he said.

The more you know, amirite?

• Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times. He can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @josephcurl.



Washingtontimes

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