2TM Regional News

FLYING BLIND WITH COVID NUMBERS GIVES RISE TO FALSE INFORMATION



(Image Via The Guardian)


Written by Chris Kaloustian


UPDATE:


A representative from the Member for Wallsend’s office stated that they use a calculation based on NSW Health numbers, however variables, RAT numbers and unallocated active cases are not considered.

In a special report from this station, we found that now, false COVID daily numbers are being taken as fact online.


ORIGINAL:


Following Hunter New England Health’s decision to cease the reporting the of postcode daily COVID number breakdowns for the district, third party sites have decided to take up the mantle.


This station found that 4 separate online sources including the Member for Wallsend, Sonia Hornery, have been posting numbers, however each number for towns are different depending on the source.


We discovered a range of sources stated anywhere from 105 to 132 active cases.

With a margin of about 30 cases, the numbers reported by the sources fail to be accurate.


This contrasts with previous times in the pandemic when widespread hysteria occurred after 1-2 cases appeared in the Tamworth region.


A margin of error of nearly 30 cases could see several possible super spreaders fly under the radar or be misreported.


For over 2 years, we have been coming to grips with the new reality thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Lockdowns, restrictions, masks, and vaccines make up the new normal, and as Australian’s we have jumped headfirst into the challenge with (mostly) little complaints.


To do so however, New England residents must be provided with information, the public must be kept up to date with the virus’ movements and spread.


The various health districts regularly posted breakdowns of daily case numbers for Local Government Areas (LGA), a process which has kept us all informed.


Hunter New England Health said, “With the centralisation of rapid antigen reporting at a state level, from today (Friday the 14th of January) we will cease providing a local case update.”


This has left an information vacuum; people wish to know how many new daily COVID cases are in their towns.


State MP for Wallsend Sonia Hornery has been one of the main voices, posting postcode breakdowns for PCR tests.


This becomes a problem when, as stated above, the sources post conflicting numbers. Especially if one source is a Member of Parliament.


Leaving New England residents with false numbers has potentially dangerous consequences, especially in the middle of an ongoing supply chain crisis.


We contacted the Member for Wallsend’s office for comment however they failed to reply.


But the fault does not solely lie with these third-party sources.


The decision from Hunter New England Health to end the postcode reporting puts the health entity in the dubious position of leaving the public uninformed, and worse now, taking false numbers as fact.