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How the mainstream media exaggerates the coronavirus pandemic

Nate Silver is editor of FiveThirtyEight, and he recently called out the mainstream media on one of his Tweets for not providing contextual accuracy on Coronavirus counts.

According to Silver, some in the mainstream media are playing a game stating that the number of new cases of Coronavirus in the US is rapidly increasing. Of course, this type of messaging puts pressure on the governments to maintain the lockdown.

However, Silver noted that these increased counts are to a large extent the result of more testing. More people are being tested, and they are finding more incidents of Coronavirus.

His tweet resulted in at least one media outlet honestly adjusting its message. According to Mediaite’s Rudy Takala:

“Axios subsequently updated the story linked in the exchange, noting, ‘This story has been updated to clarify that increased testing could be part of the reason the number of cases in the U.S. is rising.’”

Mediaite says the New York Times’ headline, “As Trump pushes to reopen, government sees virus toll nearly doubling” leaves the impression that number of new cases is rising rapidly.

In fact, this increased testing is simply discovering that the original estimate of how many Americans have the virus is too low.

The New York Times‘ headline should have read, “Increased testing reveals more people have the coronavirus than previously thought.” But that would be an ineffective headline, if you, say, have a political agenda to keep the lockdown going.

But, this increased testing does tell us one thing. With more people having the coronavirus, the death rate for the virus is in a free fall. And it was the computer-modelling death rate projections of 3% to 4% that led to the lock down in the first place.

READ: Nate Silver: ‘Basic error’ on coronavirus stories reveal media’s true goals

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