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Tuesday, September 8, 2020
CNS Still Trying To Spin Coronavirus Numbers

Last month, we caught repoirter Susan Jones trying to downplay the summer surge in coronavirus, much of which occurred in Republican-led states, by comparing the numbers to the very high number of cases in the spring. How has Jones done in the month since our report?

Jones' Aug. 11 body count was a little closer to reality but still labored to spin by including mid-April numbers for comparison:

As expected, the most recent death certificates submitted to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show at least three straight weeks of increased deaths involving the COVID-19 virus.

As previously reported, deaths involving the virus started rising on July 4, following ten straight weeks of decline from the mid-April peak of 17,010.

In fact, contrary to her claim that CNS "previously reported" deaths were rising, her case-count article from the previous week claimed differently carring the headline "CDC: COVID-Involved Deaths Drop 8.29% for Week Ending July 18."

Jones repeated the formula for her Aug. 17 weekly update:

According to the latest death certificates submitted to the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, deaths involving COVID-19 increased in all four weeks that ended in July. (Data for August are still too preliminary to be reliable.)

For the week ending July 25, at least 6,357 people died from COVID, a 2.53 percent increase from the 6,200 deaths in the week ending July 18, but 62.64 percent below the peak of 17,020 COVID-involved deaths for the week ending April 18.

At least Jones admitted up top that newer data "are still too preliminary to be reliable," something she buried in previous articles.

For the next week, numbers looked better from her perspective, so it was back to full spin mode:

Deaths attributed to COVID-19 are once again trending down, based on preliminary death certificates submitted to the National Center for Health Statistics, which is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For the week ending August 1, the NCHS counted 6,356 COVID-involved deaths, a 10.94 percent decline from 7,137 deaths in the prior week and a 62.67 percent decline from the mid-April peak of 17,030 deaths.

This time, she added a plug for her favorite president, something she didn't do in the articles admitting that cases were up:

"We are doing an incredible job on the China virus, but I'm going to talk to about that Thursday night," President Trump said in his speech to the Republican National Convention on Monday. "Will anybody be listening on Thursday?" he joked.

By Aug. 31, Jones was back to fully downplaying things, under the headline "CDC: COVID-Involved Deaths in Mid-August Down 63% From April Peak." This time, she added: "The official COVID-involved death count does not distinguish between COVID-only deaths and deaths where COVID may have exacerbated an otherwise survivable underlying condition."

The spin continued in Jones' Sept. 8 article:

COVID deaths for the week ending August 22 have returned to levels not seen since the end of June.

Based on death certificates submitted to the National Center for Health Statistics -- part of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -- 3,504 people died of "confirmed or presumed COVID-19," for the week ending August 22.

That is a 36.69 percent decrease from the 5,535 deaths recorded in the prior week, and a 79.43 percent drop from the mid-April peak of 17,039 COVID-involved deaths -- that is, deaths given the ICD-10 code of U07.1.

Jones did other COVID-related spinning in a July 15 article touting lower death counts among younger people:

Medical experts have long noted that the younger you are, the less likely you are to contract COVID-19 or suffer adverse symptoms, and the latest numbers posted by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention bear that out.

CDC's National Center for Health Statistics now reports a total of 188 COVID-involved deaths among people age 24 and younger -- or 0.154 percent of the total 121,374 COVID deaths reported to CDC from early February through the week ending July 11. The majority of students fall into this 24-and-under age group.

By contrast, a total of 97,459 people age 65 and older have died of COVID as of July 11 -- 80.29 percent of the total COVID-involved deaths.

Jones went on to uncritically promote arguments from President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence that this proves schools should reopen fully, while going on to complain that "teachers unions are resisting" -- while censoring the fact that health experts have also advised caution regarding fully opening schools.

Jones further declared in an Aug. 4 article that "The latest CDC data shows that the 26 states led by Republican governors have fewer than half the COVID-involved deaths of the 24 states (and D.C.) led by Democrats." She added: "Of course, states led by Republican governors are not necessarily conservative or "red" states. But of the 30 "red" states that helped elect Donald Trump in 2016, COVID-involved deaths now total 51,631, which is 59.07 percent of the 87,406 COVID deaths in the 20 states and D.C. that voted for Hillary Clinton."

Gotta keep spinning for Trump and Republicans, right? That's what Jones gets paid to do.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:28 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, September 8, 2020 5:38 PM EDT

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