Area COVID Death Rates, Hospitalizations Ignored in Reporting (Op-Ed)
This is an opinion piece, but contains factual confirmed data, and trends and information that have been confirmed by multiple informational sources.
According to data from the Benton Franklin Health District's own reports (as of 11-2-2020) the death percentages and hospitalization rates appear to defy the 'panic' being spread over new cases.
Recent local media headlines have included phrases such as "cases explode" "bad weekend" and other alarming language.
It's a documented fact some of the COVID data is not included or is ignored when news stories are put out about the virus in the Mid Columbia. It's possible the reason so much emphasis has been put on 'new cases' is because that's the main metric the WSDOH (Washington State Department of Health)and Inslee use to determine the 'threat' of COVID. It's also (along with rate of infection) what's used to determine how much of our economy, schools, and lives are locked down.
The virus does continues to affect the elderly the most, along with people who have pre-existing serious or compromising health conditions. Virtually nobody has disputed that.
However, like we have said all along for months, you cannot have an accurate perspective of this issue without looking at, considering, and reporting on all the pertinent data. That includes infection rates, death percentages, and hospitalization rates.
According to the BFHD:
- Of the 299,602 persons in B-F County, there have now been 11,107 total cases. That is 3.7 percent of the entire population.
- Of those 11,107 cases, there have been 203 deaths. The death percentages from actual confirmed cases is 2.3 percent in Benton, 1.3 percent in Franklin Counties.
- The death rate percentage vs. the entire population (203 vs. 299,602) is 0.06 percent.
- The current hospitalization rate from the four facilities in our two counties (Kadlec, Lourdes, Trios and Prosser Memorial) is 10.5 percent. 36 out of 344 people in beds this week were there for COVID or COVID-like symptoms. That means the other 308 were there for other factors (cancer, surgery, heart issues etc.). Some of them are occupying intensive care beds, but the low overall census suggests health care systems are not being 'overrun'.
8 months into the pandemic, we are just now starting to see some acknowledgement from media and other sources about public "COVID fatigue," but it's been building since late summer. More and more people are asking if these kind of numbers and percentages justify the continued restrictions and lockdowns of the economy and especially now, educational systems. The toll on mental health, academic performance, and in WA and OR, the economy, are forcing leaders to actually take notice. A member of the Kennewick School Board said Oct. 21st, distance learning is resulting in some of the worst academic performance the District "has ever seen."
In October, we spoke with a Kennewick Policeman who regularly works as a middle school resource officer. Every week, he has to conduct multiple welfare checks on students because their teachers report these children have "disappeared." They haven't been in Zoom meetings, parents haven't returned emails or calls. They're falling through cracks, and their teachers are genuinely worried.
Much of the COVID fatigue is the result of this kind of media reporting, the endless drumbeat of 'new cases, new cases, new cases' without any other perspective. It's actually irresponsible, and mainstream media outlets wonder why their credibility with citizens is plummeting.
To see the actual BFHD numbers from their 11-2 report, click on the button below.