Editor’s Note is a weekly column by News Director Josh Durso. Look for it each Sunday exclusively on FingerLakes1.com. Check out more of them by clicking here.
Here’s a fact: The number of people hospitalized throughout the state is growing at a concerning rate.
Last week we published a story about the rate at which hospitalization is increasing. Different regions in the state are experiencing different things. For example, the Southern Tier has seen very little increase in hospitalization in the last 21 days. Meanwhile, the Finger Lakes and Western New York regions have seen increases of seismic proportion. Both registered increases of 262% and 213% respectively. Central New York settled in at an increase of 163%.
The story wasn’t anything unusual. We published it, shared it to our Facebook Page, and extended it to our mobile app. A while after the story was posted, I checked on the comments.
There were the usual responses: Assertions that the entire pandemic is a scheme of the government or media. Suggestion that the government has nefarious intent with a COVID-19 vaccine. That the pandemic was a tool in the election to ensure a Joe Biden victory.
None of those things surprised me. We have been hearing those claims for months. There was another common response to this story that felt … unusual.
“Hospitalizations… But what is the diagnosis of each… [You’re] being too general,” one of these commenters wrote. “State exactly how many are COVID diagnosis… Until I hear what the diagnosis of each is… It is propaganda… Fear mongering the people.”
That’s just one example, but the core starters were what and why. What is the diagnosis of those hospitalized? Why are you sharing this information? And the answer to both questions is very, very easy. Diagnosis doesn’t matter when hospitals are filling up; and because Governor Andrew Cuomo said it would play a role in future economic restrictions in cluster zones.
There’s also the practical benefit of knowing that hospitals in your region are filling up faster-than-normal or nearing capacity. As a consumer, it’s information I welcome. Not everyone wants to hear that, though. Partly because there is a contingent of the population who prefer to build select facts around a narrative, rather than make assessments based on individual pieces of information.
Have different parts of this pandemic been politicized? Of course. But that doesn’t make individual pieces of information less important. Hospitalizations are climbing quickly, along with overall infections and active caseloads. The pandemic has proven before that it thrives in circles where it isn’t taken as seriously. Hospitalizations increasing by 213% or 262% is not politics or fear mongering … it’s math.
Here’s one more fact to wrap up this week’s column: A full hospital is a full hospital.
It doesn’t matter if the patients have COVID-19, or if they simply had other medical emergencies that resulted in them being hospitalized. If we approach capacity it needs to be reported, and we should be concerned about that.