March 31, 2021

OH: Yahoo Story on Florida COVID Study Misrepresented Key Finding, Study’s Author Says.

“Florida is undercounting the number of people who died from COVID-19 by thousands of cases, casting new doubt on claims that Gov. Ron DeSantis navigated the coronavirus pandemic successfully,” begins the fear-mongering story, published by Yahoo national correspondent Alexander Nazaryan on Tuesday.

The story was built around a study published this month in the American Journal of Public Health, which analyzed Florida’s “excess deaths” during the COVID-19 pandemic — or the difference between the actual number of deaths in the state and what was expected, after accounting for registered COVID deaths.

The study — which found that Florida, after accounting for COVID deaths, had 4,924 excess deaths from March to September 2020 — reported that “the impact of COVID-19 on mortality is significantly greater than the official COVID-19 data suggest.”

Yahoo incorrectly framed the nearly 5,000 deaths as COVID mortalities that the state has let slip through the cracks.

“In the case of Florida, the researchers say, 4,924 excess deaths should have been counted as resulting from COVID-19 but for the most part were ruled as having been caused by something else, thus lowering Florida’s coronavirus fatality count,” the article reads. The story led Drudge Report on Tuesday with the caption “RESEARCH FINDS 5,000 MORE DEAD,” and was prominently shared by Florida Democrats Charlie Crist and Nikki Fried.

But Moosa Tatar, the lead author of the study featured by Yahoo, said the story’s framing of his analysis was incorrect, and he does not yet know how many of the excess deaths are attributable to COVID.

Listen, if we’re going to let facts stand in the way of perfectly reasonable panicmongering, then eventually people are going to stop being needlessly afraid.

Related (From Ed): COVID Panic Peddlers Get Clobbered by Their Own Boomerang in Pushing Doom and Gloom Narrative.

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