It’s been the talk of San Diego’s hospital administrators for days.
San Diego County’s Public Health Officer released erroneous data on Covid-19 hospitalizations leading to alarmist media reports of a “record-breaking day for Covid hospitalizations.” Problem is, the Covid hospitalization numbers reported by the county were wrong.
It all started when several San Diego county hospital executives went on record disputing the county’s hospitalization data. These hospital executives said that their Covid hospitalization numbers were flat or on a downward trend.
On Monday, county health officials released a chart claiming that Covid-19 hospitalizations had hit 529 - a number that inflated by more than 15%. When asked to explain the discrepancy between the data the county reported and what local hospitals had reported, the county admitted that the actual total of Covid hospitalizations was 458.
The San Diego Union Tribune, which has been criticized for its salacious and alarmist headlines and stories in its Covid reporting, chalked up the erroneous reporting data to a “simple math error.”
It’d be simple if it weren’t so important. Hospitalization data is key to manage county healthcare capacity. More importantly, county public health data is being used to impose and enforce sweeping orders on businesses and residents. The county has an obligation to get its Covid data right.
Erroneous reporting on hospitalization rates is not the only problem with Covid 19 data sets. Nationally - and in San Diego - Covid data sets have been plagued by errors including false positives, significant lags in reporting of deaths, questionable attribution of deaths to Covid, etc.
Perhaps a bigger problem than bad data is bad reporting by the media. The media was willing to run with the narrative that San Diego’s hospital capacity had finally hit a crisis point because of Covid, but a simple review of the data would easily refute that false narrative.
Datasets maintained by the State of California show San Diego county has actually maintained a stable and sufficient hospitalization capacity. In fact, when comparing June 10, 2020 stats versus July 27, 2020 stats for hospitalizations, the data shows that San Diego county has actually increased its available hospital bed capacity to deal with Covid 19. You can see the state data for yourself here: data.ca.gov
“Is this just pure incompetence or is their a motive behind reporting bad data?” asks Carl DeMaio. “At a time when county politicians are citing their health data to shut down businesses and bar children from attending schools, we should demand that the data at least be accurate,” DeMaio concluded.
Click on the segment below and listen to Carl DeMaio and Lou Penrose break down the erroneous county Covid.
**Photo Credit: Getty Images