One of the biggest problems we have seen throughout this health crisis is misreporting and sensationalizing to create fear among Americans.
We expect that from the media, but not from a public health official. Dr. Amy Acton, Director of the Ohio Department of Health, did just that last week, however, and now, she has been forced to reverse her outrageous, fearmongering claims, according to Breitbart.
Jumping the gun
Last week, Dr. Acton claimed it’s likely that 100,000 people in Ohio have the coronavirus.
This created a bit of panic considering that only 14 cases have been confirmed in the state and no deaths have been reported. In fact, there are only about 153,000 cases worldwide, so the panic is understandable.
“We know now, just the fact of community spread, says that at least 1%, at the very least, 1% of our population is carrying this virus in Ohio today,” Acton said at the time. “We have 11.7 million people. So the math is over 100,000. So that just gives you a sense of how this virus spreads and is spreading quickly.”
After The Hill reported her claim, Dr. Acton was forced to walk back her statement on Friday, She admitted at a press conference, “I am not saying there are absolutely for certain 100,000 people, I’m saying I’m guesstimating.”
Her “guestimate” came about by figuring that 1% of the population will test positive. With Ohio having a population of close to 12 million, she figured her guestimate was pretty safe, but it created more panic than anything else.
There is no doubt the number of confirmed cases is going to grow significantly in the coming days because we now have more tests available.
Those numbers, however, can be kept as low as possible by taking precautions, including limiting travel and canceling sporting events, concerts, and other social gatherings.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, recently told NBC News that people need to “hunker down” to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Americans “should be prepared that they’re going to have to hunker down significantly more than we as a country are doing” to help fight the spread of this virus, he said. “I would prefer as much as we possibly could. I think we should really be overly aggressive and get criticized for overreacting.”
One of the biggest dangers we have now is overwhelming our hospitals, but these measures, as well as the common-sense preventive measures we have been told to take, will lessen that burden.