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Friday, March 26, 2021
CNS Took 2-Month Break Between COVID Death Count Updates

We've documented how -- mostly reporter Susan Jones -- spent much of 2020 laboing to put a pro-Trump spin on coronavirus case and death numbers. But as deaths surged after the November election that Trump lost, CNS' interest in doing them dwindled to the point that it hadn't done one since December. But when COVID deaths in the U.S. passed the 500,000 mark, CNS grudgingly marked the occasion.

An anonymously writen Feb. 22 article noted that "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) issued a statement on Monday expressing her sorrow for the reported 500,000 lives that have been lost in this country as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic." Even then, the anonymous writer nitpicked the count by highlighting that "TheJohns Hopkins University website on Monday was reporting that the total number of U.S. deaths as a result of COVID-19 was 499,186."

CNS piublished this with the deliberately vague headline "Nancy Pelosi: ‘Every Life Lost is a Profound Tragedy’" -- which hid the actual context of the article -- and illustrated it with a file photo of Pelosi holding a baby, an apparent potshot at Pelosi's support for abortion rights, a partian political statement that was also irrelevant to the article's subject matter.

Jones returned to action on her abandoned beat in an article the next day, which she began by highlighting an even lower number:

Since January 2020, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has kept weekly counts of "COVID-involved" deaths in the United States, based on death certificates that are submitted on a lagging basis to CDC's National Center for Health Statistics.

As of Feb. 22, CDC's official COVID death toll was 467,585. CDC also counts 3,715,704 "deaths from all causes" since January 2020.

Jones then seemed to be complaining taht she had to do this article at all, claiming that marking the death toll was making it"politicized" before ultimately explaining while the CDC number is so low:

So the 467,585 COVID-involved deaths are 12.58 percent of total deaths from all causes. (CDC defines COVID-involved deaths as those with "confirmed or presumed COVID-19, coded to ICD–10 code U07.1.")

Almost every death, from whatever cause, brings pain and sorrow. But COVID deaths have been politicized to the point where they get special mention and attention, as they did Monday night when President Joe Biden and his wife marked a moment of silence for those killed by the virus.

Biden was marking the occasion of at least 500,000 U.S. deaths attributed to COVID. (The CDC count lags other tallies, based on when death certificates are received.)

Jones forgot to mention that she spent the past year politicizing COVID death numbers, downplaying summer and fall surges by comparing them to the initial surge last spring -- or that a CNS article the previous day dishonestly politicized a statement by Pelosi.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:59 AM EDT

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