Headline RoundupJanuary 5th, 2022

Interpreting the Rise in COVID-19 Hospitalizations

AllSides Summary

The official counts of COVID-19 hospitalizations are rising steeply, especially among children. But they're rising much slower than the even steeper rate of new COVID-19 infections, and some numbers may be misleading.

As hospitalization tallies rise, reports across the spectrum suggest that the counts include many mild patients or asymptomatic people. On the topic of kids, infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci recently explained how if a child is admitted to a hospital, they automatically get tested for COVID-19 and are "counted as a COVID-hospitalized individual," which he said leads to "overcounting." He also urged Americans in another interview to "focus on the hospitalizations" instead of case counts as infections become less severe. Some hospitals automatically test all inpatients for COVID-19 regardless of if they're experiencing symptoms, and New York recently announced plans to require that hospitals report whether patients are hospitalized with COVID-19 or for COVID-19.

Reports from right-rated sources often highlighted Fauci's remarks, compared current hospitalization rates to the higher rates seen during previous COVID-19 spikes, and framed official hospitalization tallies as misleading. Some coverage from left-rated outlets, such as The Guardian and CNN (Left bias), omitted Fauci's remarks while framing rising hospitalizations with more concern and focusing on potentially serious health effects for kids. One report from Washington Examiner (Lean Right bias) also called the rise in child hospitalizations "concerning" but distinguished between kids hospitalized with COVID-19 versus for COVID-19.

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