The Associated Press (AP), in a dramatic shift in focus, has ordered its staff to stop covering the total number of coronavirus cases in the country and around the globe, apparently shifting the parameters of what a “case” truly means.
Fox News reports that the sudden change can be seen in a recent article from the AP titled “Omicron wave prompts media to rethink which data to report,” by author David Bauder. In the article, published on Wednesday, Bauder claims that, while the number of positive coronavirus cases and hospitalizations had previously been “barometers of the pandemic’s march across the world,” the ongoing spread of the Omicron variant from South Africa “is making a mess of the usual statistics, forcing news organizations to rethink the way they report such figures.”
“The number of case counts soared over the holidays, an expected development given the emergence of a variant more transmissible than its predecessors,” Bauder wrote. “Yet these counts only reflect what is reported by health authorities. They do not include most people who test themselves at home, or are infected without even knowing about it. Holidays and weekends also lead to lags in reported cases.”
As a result, the AP speculates that if every single positive test was included, then the total number of cases would be “substantially higher” as a result of dramatic inflation and exaggeration of many instances.
“For that reason, The Associated Press has recently told its editors and reporters to avoid emphasizing case counts in stories about the disease,” Bauder continued. “That means, for example, no more stories focused solely on a particular country or state setting a one-day record for number of cases, because that claim has become unreliable.”
“Even the usefulness of those numbers has been called into question in recent days,” the AP admitted.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, many outside the mainstream media have pointed out the unreliability of simply documenting the total number of cases, noting the high number of asymptomatic cases, where individuals who test positive for the coronavirus remain healthy and display no serious illness or other symptoms. Such a broad categorization could also include instances where patients are hospitalized for conditions or injuries entirely unrelated to COVID but, upon being tested and found to also have the virus, are instantly counted as hospitalizations due to COVID. There have also been numerous reported instances of similar inflation of the numbers with alleged coronavirus deaths, with people who die of something other than COVID but nevertheless had the virus at the time of death ultimately being counted as a COVID death.