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Mon Nov 21 18:37:37 PST 2022
Authorities Looking Into Oregon Report That Falsely Claims Sky-High
Child COVID-19 Hospitalization Rates
By Zachary Stieber
November 20, 2022 Updated: November 20, 2022
Authorities in Oregon say they’re looking into a report they published
that falsely claims sky-high COVID-19 hospitalization rates among
“We are working with the company that completed the report, Rede
Group, to look into that data question,” Jonathan Modie, a spokesman
for the Oregon Health Authority, told The Epoch Times in an email on
Modie said authorities would be able to provide an update as early as Monday.
The report in question was produced by a firm called the Rede Group as
a contractor to the health authority, as outlined in a Senate bill
that was passed this year.
The bill says that the authority “shall study the state’s public
health response to the COVID-19 pandemic” and prepare various reports,
including one that includes “a broad review of the COVID-19 pandemic”
and identification of areas in the public health response to the
pandemic that need improvement.
The 725-page report includes multiple instances of misinformation,
including the false claim that COVID-19 hospitalization rates among
children were as high as 47.4 percent.
In a graph, the report depicts the hospitalization rates as above 30
percent for all childhood age groups, with the highest being 47.4
percent among children aged 12 to 17 as of June.
According to Oregon Health Authority (pdf), the hospitalization rate
in 2021 among children aged 0 to 9 was just 0.9 percent and the
hospitalization rate among those aged 10 to 19 was 0.6 percent. A
report issued in July (pdf) looking at the first six months of 2021
had the percentages at 0.6 and 0.3, respectively.
Hospitalization rates are the percentage of people who test positive
for COVID-19 who were admitted to a hospital.
Robb Hutson, a spokesman for the Rede Group, told The Epoch Times via
email that he would have the company’s data team look into the matter.
States across the country, as well as federal officials and media
outlets, have repeatedly put forth COVID-19 misinformation during the
pandemic, including exaggerating the risk the disease poses to people
and hyping vaccine effectiveness.
Eric Happel, a Nike employee who has criticized Oregon’s COVID-19
restrictions, flagged the false information in the new report.
He said the graph on hospitalization rates “is so wrong that everyone
in OHA should know it’s wrong,” adding that “this is just so
incompetent it is beyond embarrassing.”
Happel also said he did not appreciate how the report does not address
how school closures, which took place in many U.S. states in 2020 and
into 2021, affected children apart from saying health officials had to
“balance the potential benefit” of such measures “against the serious
ramifications,” including “creating social isolation.”
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