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A chart from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is presented without its disclaimer — that the hospitalization data are for 14 states, not the entire U.S.
Nationally, COVID-19 hospitalizations are on the rise.
A conservative group that focuses on exposing what it describes as leftist bias in the news media misled its Facebook audience by claiming that fewer than 2,000 people are currently hospitalized in the United States with COVID-19.
The post is from the Media Research Center, which runs the website Newsbusters.org. The post includes an image, which starts with "Should this induce media panic?":
"What the media aren't showing you: COVID hospitalizations have decreased dramatically since last summer," wrote the Media Research Center, which has nearly 1.8 million Facebook followers.
The chart describes laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 hospitalizations. It shows somewhere between 1,000 and 2,000 hospitalizations, down from a peak of more than 6,000 hospitalizations in January.
The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
The chart cites the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as its data source.
And while the Media Research Center copied the CDC data accurately, it failed to include a very important CDC-issued disclaimer.
The data in the post is drawn from just 14 states — a pool that accounts for less than 10% of the U.S. population. It includes no data from states where cases have spiked, such as Florida, Louisiana or Texas.
It’s a wildly low undercount.
Let’s look at Florida by itself.
The seven-day average of new hospital admissions with confirmed COVID-19 was 1,936 for July 31 to Aug. 6 — a 29.7% increase from the previous week, according to the CDC.
As of Aug. 9, 13,977 inpatient beds in Florida were in use by COVID-19 patients in 251 of Florida’s hospitals — one-quarter of the inpatient beds in those hospitals, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The number of hospitalizations is a record for the pandemic, according to the Miami Herald, which relied on data the state reports to the CDC.
More than one-third of new COVID-19 hospitalizations came from Florida and Texas, according to the White House. None of that data is accounted for in the Media Research Center chart.
So what is that CDC data?
According to the CDC, it represents The Coronavirus Disease 2019-Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network (COVID-NET).
"The current network covers nearly 100 counties in the 10 Emerging Infections Program (EIP) states (CA, CO, CT, GA, MD, MN, NM, NY, OR, and TN) and four additional states through the Influenza Hospitalization Surveillance Project (IA, MI, OH, and UT). The network represents approximately 10% of US population (~32 million people)," the CDC writes.
The Emerging Infections Programs is a "collaboration between CDC and 10 state health departments working with academic partners to conduct active population-based surveillance and special studies for several emerging infectious diseases with special emphasis on infectious diseases related to the key EIP activities."
The bottom line: It’s a snapshot of some data. But it’s not what the Media Research Center described.
The CDC’s COVID tracker says the current seven-day average of people hospitalized with COVID-19 sits at 50,502. And the CDC notes that because of reporting delays, that figure should be repeated with caution.
A chart from the Media Research Center claims there are less than 2,000 confirmed COVID-19 hospitalizations.
The group looked at a sampling of data from 14 states. But that data includes only 10% of the U.S. population and not states like Florida and Texas, where more than 20,000 people are hospitalized alone.
We rate the post False.
Facebook post, Aug. 5, 2021
Email, CDC spokesperson Kristen Nordlund, Aug. 6, 2021
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Laboratory-Confirmed COVID-19 Associated Hospitalizations, Preliminary Data As of July 31, 2021," accessed Aug. 6, 2021
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "COVID Daily Tracker Weekly Review," Aug. 6, 2021
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "COVID Data Tracker," accessed Aug. 6, 2021
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "New Admissions of Patients with Confirmed COVID-19, Florida, Aug. 1, 2020 to Aug. 6, 2021," accessed Aug. 9, 2021
Associated Press, "‘There are only so many beds’: COVID-19 surge hits hospitals," Aug. 5, 2021
Mayo Clinic, "U.S. COVID-19 vaccine tracker: See your state’s progress," accessed Aug. 6, 2021
PolitiFact, "Safer to be unvaccinated against COVID-19? In several ways, that’s False," Aug. 4, 2021
Rev.com, "White House COVID-19 Task Force, Dr. Fauci Press Conference Transcript," Aug. 5, 2021
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, "Inpatient Bed Utilization by State — Florida," Aug. 9, 2021
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