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As mentioned in this article: What do you really mean when you talk about “living with Covid”, it is shown, the media seems to be starting to relax around the world. However, this does not mean that the measures and monitoring / control will disappear.

Now AP also confirms in its current article that we must live with the virus and that Covid could become an endemic disease. Interestingly, nearly all media and even “state leaders” use the same narrative as if they were on command. ENDEMIC AND WE HAVE TO LIVE WITH THE VIRUS.

writes AP well: The wave of Omikron is causing the media to rethink the data they report daily

For two years now, the number of coronavirus cases and the number of hospitalizations have been widespread barometers for the advance of the pandemic around the world.

But the Omikron case upsets the usual statistics and forces news organizations to rethink how they report.

“It’s just a data disaster,” said Katherine Wu, COVID-19 editor for The Atlantic magazine.

The number of cases counted skyrocketed over the holidays, an expected development given the emergence of a more transferable variant than its predecessor.

However, these numbers only reflect what was reported by health authorities. They ignore most people who test themselves at home or become infected without knowing it. Holidays and weekends also lead to delays in the reported cases.

If all these numbers could be added together – which is not possible – the number of cases would probably be much higher.

For this reason, the Associated Press recently ordered its editors and reporters not to include case numbers in reports on the disease. This means, for example, that there will no longer be stories focusing solely on a particular country or state setting a record in the number of cases in a day because that claim has become unreliable.

The media has become more cautious about using official case numbers.

An NBC News report on Monday on the skyrocketing number of COVID cases was based on a weekly average of case numbers. A report on Tuesday only spoke of a “tidal wave” of cases.

When reporting a Senate hearing with health experts on Tuesday, CNN showed case numbers as a two-week average. MSNBC used a number of metrics, including a list of the five states with the highest numbers reported over the past three days.

In the Guide to the Pandemic on its website, the Washington Post used a seven-day average of cases and compared that number to last Tuesday, which showed a 56% increase. The New York Times used a daily tally on an online chart, but also provided a two-week trend for cases and deaths.

A Saturday AP article by Jennifer Sinco Kelleher and Terry Tang titled “Omicron Explosion Spurs Services Failure Nationwide” contained a plethora of statistics from across the United States on the number of people hospitalized or the number of workers who have fallen ill. The case number metric was not used.

“We definitely wanted people to go a little deeper and more specific,” said Josh Hoffner, the news editor who oversees AP coverage of the virus.

Many news outlets are discussing how best to manage statistics now during the Omicron cases, Wu said. But there are no easy answers.

“This is how journalism works,” Wu said. “We need the data. We need to show the receipts to the readers. But I try to do it carefully ”.

Hospital stays and death rates are seen by some as a more reliable picture of COVID-19’s current impact on society. But even the usefulness of these numbers has been questioned in recent days. In many cases these are random hospital admissions: there are people who are hospitalized for other reasons and are surprised to have tested positive for COVIDsaid Tanya Lewis, senior editor, health and medicine for Scientific American.

Despite the shortcomings, the case numbers shouldn’t be ignored, said Gary Schwitzer, a professor at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health and editor of HealthNewsReview.org, who follows health coverage in the media.

The numbers illustrate the trends and indicate which areas of the country are particularly affected or where the wave has peaked, he said. You can also predict wider social impacts, such as: B. where hospitals are about to be flooded or where there will be a shortage of manpower.

“These are stories that cannot be told adequately if only hospital stays and deaths are at the fore,” says Schwitzer.

This is also a point underlined in the AP internal guide.

“They have value,” Hoffner said. “We don’t want the case numbers not to be mentioned anymore.

Some public health and journalism officials believe the current wave, painful as it is, could be good news. It could be a sign that COVID-19 is about to become an endemic disease that people are learning to live with rather than a devastating pandemic, write David Leonhardt and Ashley Wu in the New York Times.

But if the past two years have taught anything, it’s the danger of forecasting, Lewis said.

“We’ve always been surprised,” he said. “We don’t know everything about the course of the pandemic. We still need to be humble and open about where things are going ”.


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