David Trinko: Why newspapers keep reporting numbers

Old sayings say that numbers never lie.

According to many internet comments over the last two years, they lied to you almost every day.

If you read Lima News regularly, you may find that you are no longer printing daily coronavirus counts from the Ohio Health Department. Switch to weekly printing and print the first week on Saturday. Next will be displayed on Friday (more on this later).

First, I would like to focus on why we started doing these numbers in the first place. When COVID-19 first occurred, most of the country was somewhere between the turmoil and horror of new illnesses. We didn’t really understand it enough to know a lot about it.

Leaders in our country, state and community said we should be afraid of it. As a news organization, it is our responsibility to share with you the facts and numbers we have. Even if no one knows what to do with them.

We shared daily numbers of new cases, new deaths, and newly labeled numbers of recovery compared to the numbers we saw the day before. It helped provide a sense of how the virus spread in the counties of our area.

But in that particular story, they were just numbers. Still, every day, Internet commentators accused them of exaggerating and underestimating risk, just by showing numbers.

People never believe me when I say this, but I really don’t want to change your mind. I just want to give you the facts that can help you make your decision with the right data at your disposal. Sure, I have a personal opinion about everything, but I’m desperately trying to keep them myself in my daily work. I don’t want them to influence the work we do in the newspaper.

Obviously a lot has changed since we started sharing these numbers. Currently, the survival rate of the virus is known to be very high. We know that mortality is very low. We know that the virus most often mutated into a less serious form of its own.

Best of all, we now find that the number of new cases and deaths has dropped significantly. We know that we don’t have to be as scared as we used to be. That’s why we decided to reprint what we printed in the limited space of the physical newspaper and update our readers once a week.

We were going to keep updating the stats every day as there were still about 750 people looking at that series of numbers per day. Then on Thursday, the state announced that it would release the updated number only once a week. Of course, it changed our plan because we can’t share daily updates that don’t exist.

It puts us where we are now. The Ohio Health Department updates the numbers on Thursday afternoon, so these numbers are updated every Friday. Share your new number as soon as possible and show how it has changed compared to a week ago.

Again, we are completely pleased that you can read those numbers and make your own decisions with them. Maybe you decide they are meaningless. Maybe you will make a decision based on them. Whatever the outcome, it is our job to share them with you and we will continue our work.

David Trinko is the editor of The Lima News.To reach him in 567-242-0467,on mail [email protected] Or on Twitter @Lima_Trinko..

David Trinko: Why newspapers keep reporting numbers

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