Fact Check: New Numbers From the CDC
(RightWing.org) – Some have been skeptical of the CDC over the past few weeks for its hesitance to publicly release information in a timely manner or even at all. Its cessation of regular news briefings in mid-March and general lack of transparency lately has diminished the trust Americans have in the organization. Now, the CDC is beginning to release new information and updates, which could help to convince Americans that it’s not attempting to be a gatekeeper of valuable information.
Let’s dig into the numbers and see how accurate they really are.
Note: All figures below are as of May 29, 8 p.m. EST,
According to the CDC, the total cases tally up to 1,719,827. Compared to the John Hopkins dashboard figure of 1,744,258 and Worldometer at 1,792,955, the CDC’s figure does lag behind other sources.
According to the CDC, total new cases went up 24,304 over the past 24 hours, John Hopkins up by 22,600, and Worldometer went up 24,494. In this respect, the CDC is about on track for keeping up with daily changes.
The total deaths number for the CDC follows a similar pattern. The CDC reports 101,711 casualties, John Hopkins with 102,709, and Worldometer at 104,531. The CDC still lags behind, though it is slightly more in line with Worldometer compared to its total cases figure.
For daily increases, the CDC claims 1,265 new deaths with Worldometer stating 1,201. John Hopkins seems to not keep track of daily casualty increases. The CDC has a slightly higher daily increase, though still within some margin of error.
Overall, its reporting of total cases and total casualties are, more or less, on point. There’s bound to be some discrepancy between sources and all of these figures are within about a 5% margin of error with each other, which is fairly standard. Overall, the CDC is fairly reliable in this regard.
This reliability changes when it comes to health care worker numbers, though.
Healthcare Personnel Numbers
One particular piece of information the CDC disclosed was the number of healthcare workers known to have been infected with or died from COVID-19. This was a highly-anticipated bit of information that Americans wanted to know. Tragically, 63,977 of them were infected and at least 307 have died according to the CDC’s count.
However, Not everyone agrees with the death rate.
— US Healthcare Workers lost to Covid 19 (@CTZebra) May 27, 2020
The CDC is, for some reason, only counting about half of the total healthcare worker deaths.
The above Twitter account, created in February 2020, seems to be primarily focused on recording the coronavirus-related deaths of each healthcare worker in the US. As of May 29, the account has over 890 tweets, most of which appear to be documenting each health care professional who died from COVID-19.
One potential explanation for this discrepancy is the CDC might only be counting active healthcare workers. Some of the tweets from CTZebra include experts who retired from active work and remained on medical boards or came back to work on hospital projects.
Overall, the CDC’s new information is mostly reliable when talking about the broad picture. When it comes to particular data points, like the total deaths of health care workers, it can be far less reliable. While one could still reasonably use CDC numbers in most cases for a broad reference point, more research should be done when looking at some of their specific claims.
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