Here’s a headline you likely saw over the past 24 hours about what’s happening in Florida.
“Florida sets new daily mark for COVID-19 deaths while DeSantis finds ‘positive trends.’”
The Tallahassee Democrat, which ran that headline, goes on to say that “Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has been sued by the state’s largest teachers union over his administration’s order to reopen schools next month for in-person classes, went to an Orlando hospital Tuesday to highlight what he called ‘positive trends’ in hospital admissions in Central Florida.”
Note the sneering attitude. Deaths are skyrocketing while an out-of-touch Republican governor talks about “positive trends.”
On Wednesday, Florida reported a record high 216 deaths and “the grim news comes a day after the state set the record with 186 virus-related deaths,” as NBC Miami put it.
In fact, the record high for the daily number of deaths in the state appears to have been on July 16, when 123 people in the state were known to have died with the disease.
As of Wednesday night, Florida’s COVID-19 surveillance dashboard showed only 13 deaths on July 28.
As we have reported in this space before, the press is using daily reports from states to paint a picture of a runaway virus. (See: Florida Is A Case Study In Media-Induced COVID-19 Panic, and The Big Surge In Coronavirus Deaths Is A Media-Fed Myth)
What the mainstream press keeps forgetting to tell people is that it can take the government days, if not weeks, to record a COVID-19 death. The daily reports aren’t telling us what’s happening now, but what happened earlier in the month. The chart below shows the impact of this. The gray bars represent when deaths are reported by Florida, and the red bars are when the deaths actually occurred.
Notice that Florida’s daily reports undercounted actual deaths in the first half of July (by more than 400). That’s when most of the deaths being reported now happened.
If anything, what the numbers show is that the virus peaked in that state around mid-July.
There’s more evidence that the crisis is already on the downtrend. Hospital admissions in Florida appear to have peaked more than a week ago. AdventHealth Orlando, for example, reports that the COVID-19 patient count was at 515 on July 19, while this Tuesday the hospital had 406 patients with the illness. And the AdventHealth system across the state is also reporting a decline in admissions from the virus since early July.
These are the facts that DeSantis pointed to when he talked about “positive trends.”
In other words, while the virus no doubt has had a big impact on the state, the worst appears to be over. The same holds true in other states that saw a spike in cases starting in June.
But instead of looking at these facts and what they mean, the press attacked DeSantis, pointedly asking “how he could square his upbeat assessment with the mounting death toll.”
Let us state what should be obvious but seems to confuse some people: We are not claiming that the coronavirus isn’t a deadly disease, or that it should not be taken seriously. (We do believe, however, the total death count has been exaggerated nationwide because states are counting deaths with COVID-19, not deaths from COVID-19. And the evidence is mounting that the massively expensive lockdowns were ineffective.)
But if the crisis is passing in states such as Florida, Texas, Arizona and elsewhere, shouldn’t the public know about that? And why are the media acting as though it’s getting worse?
— Written by the I&I Editorial Board