When it comes to people shooting the messenger, we’re rather used to looking like Bonnie and Clyde after the police ambush. Sometimes, however, a response is necessary when the commentary ventures too far into spreading disinformation at our expense.

After reporting in Thursday’s paper the additional category of “probable” cases of the new coronavirus, we were accused of doing everything short of injecting residents with vials of COVID-19 to ramp up the fear and number of cases. Claims that the category qualifies as health officials making false assumptions or purposely inflating the number of people infected by the disease are completely off base.

A common theme among the conspiratorial minded accused us as making the numbers look worse to support our agenda of ramping up fear to destroy the economy and rob people of their rights. We should stick to reporting facts, we were admonished.

Only we are reporting facts derived from data provided by the Brazoria County Health Department based on actual tests of actual people. Their case counts now include the number of “probable” cases, a new category not dreamed up by journalists, but required by the Texas Health and Human Services Department.

These probable cases are not based on educated guesses but medical determinations.

We explained the criteria in our Thursday story, which we posted free for anyone who chose to read it to do so. Some did; too many didn’t before unleashing their two cents. Here again is where the probable designation comes from:

The probable cases must meet the symptom criteria and “epidemiological linkage criteria,” according to a Texas Health and Human Services news release. Probable cases are still required to spend 14 days in self-isolation, the news release said.

“If you meet the clinical criteria and are linked to a positive case, you will be counted,” Brazoria County Health Director Cathy Sbrusch told us. “If there is a detection of a specific antigen or a specific antibody, you will be deemed probable.”

Antigens are detected through a nasal swab while antibodies will be found through a blood test, Sbrusch said.

To further explain, an antigen test just received federal approval a week ago. It detects viral proteins expressed on the outer surface of the coronavirus. Antigens, a term for any foreign substance, like a virus or bacteria, are recognized by the body to induce an immune response to fight off infection.

Antibody tests measure antibodies in the blood to determine if the person previously had the virus and recovered. While they cannot diagnose an active case, they can be used to better track the spread of the disease.

Bottom line: No one is making up anything about this virus, and no one is purposely trying to make things seem worse than they are. This disease is plenty bad without the help of journalists, health professionals or others.

The “probable” case numbers, like the confirmed infections and deaths, are supported by the best science available for a disease no one knew existed seven months ago. It might be imperfect at this stage, but it is far from made up and not concocted or overblown by your neighbors from The Facts or those you voted to respond to public emergencies like this one.

And as the cliche goes, the numbers don’t lie — and those numbers are what The Facts is reporting in as straightforward manner as possible from reputable sources.

This editorial was written by Michael Morris, managing editor of The Facts.

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(15) entries

Bulldog

Aawww. I guarentee the numbers are way higher than what the Facts have reported. It's time to grow up and live. Life has no guarantees. Everyone has an appointed time to be born and to die. Life happens in between.

PJBM626

Why don’t you print the truth on unmasking of Gen Flynn and sexual allegations of Joe Biden

This is why folks don’t trust anything you write

You’ve dug your own hole Mr Morris

Father of Six

Goodness gracious. I don't know why anyone would think you have a bias or agenda. I wonder if Tara Reade thinks you have a bias or agenda? As a matter of fact, I wonder why conservatives like Judge Kavanugh would think you have a bias or agenda? Silly me.

natives5

Than you Mr. Morris and your entire team. The news lately isn’t always what we want to hear but keep doing your job. As I’ve stated before, facts confuse some folks. How sick that people actually think others want to see more deaths and sickness for some political grudge. Absolutely disgusting.

Bulldog

Or people skew the numbers to tank the economy hoping to unseat a sitting President. Destroying people's lives just to get even with the electorate

natives5

Again a sick and distorted view driven by hatred towards people who love this country and are concerned with the direction it is going. Bizarre and sad to say the least, Bulldog.

Bulldog

Yea right. Look in the mirror

Father of Six

You don't beleive there's a bit of hysteria going on here? You have a better chance of dying in a car accident than dying from the coronavirus. That doesn't mean we don't wear seatbelts to help the odds. Buckle up and wear your mask. If you don't think Mr. Morris has an agenda you should change your screen name to Naive5. :)

Michael Morris Staff
Michael Morris

You've proven the point of the editorial. More than twice as many people have died in the US from COVID since the diagnosis of the first case than dies in all of 2019 in car accidents... and significantly more than the common flu.

Father of Six

Not really Mr. Morris. You proved my point. I didn't say more people die in car accidents than die from the coronavirus. I said the odds are better (which I would agree cannot be completely caculated yet) for someone, who I assume is healthy, to die in a car accident than from the coronavirus. Living in Texas seems to help our odds as well. But that's probably becasue we don't send coronavirus positive patients to nursing homes.

Bulldog

Only if you believe the death toll to be accurate

natives5

Just like a child resorting to petty presumed insults. If I'm naive because I think for myself and understand facts than so be it. Still doesn't change the facts that Mr. Morris presented no matter how hard you try, Fo6.

Father of Six

I don't know where the insult was. It was meant to be funny, yes at your expense, but none the less an attempt at humor. If you think I don't take the stat's seriously you would be wrong. I have an 86 year old mother in a nursing home in LJ. I haven't been able to hug her in two months. She crys and doesn't understand what's going on. How do think this lock down is effecting her mental state? We see her through a window for 30 minutes twice a week. Believe me, I pay attention to the stats and facts. Oh, and we transfered her from Tuscany Village in Pearland one week before the lockdown. I keep up with the stats and facts.

natives5

I will pray for your mother as I feel for her. I too have parents that age who I haven’t been able to hug for 2 months.

BillNancy

Come on Michael, your feelings are showing, "If you can't stand the heat

, get out of the kitchen". The cliché to which you misquote is "Figures don't lie but liars figure"

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