Rantz: Seattle media restarts fearmongering over COVID, flu and fake ‘tridemic’

Dec 11, 2022, 12:00 PM | Updated: Dec 21, 2022, 2:27 pm
seattle tridemic...
The Seattle media has started fearmongering again, which is enough for people - such as these Seattleites wearing masks outdoors - to get scared about the 'tridemic.' (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

The media isn’t ready to return to normal life like the rest of us. They’re still breathlessly reporting public health stories to earn fear-clicks.

According to Seattle media outlets, we’re in for a rough winter. We’re told COVID hospitalizations are surging, flu deaths are doubling, and we could even be facing a tridemic. Quick: don those masks again!

The data, however, suggests a considerably different story that isn’t worth scaring people.

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COVID cases are doubling! That must mean death is imminent, right?

To get more people vaccinated, some public health officials are back to promoting the COVID booster. Others are urging you to get the more trusted flu vaccine. The media is pushing these messages, and it seems like they’re trying to scare you into making health decisions.

The Tacoma News Tribune warns its readers that Pierce County is seeing its COVID hospitalizations double. And that might be reason enough to listen to public health officials “recommending a return to indoor masking in some circumstances as COVID-19 cases rise along with other respiratory infections.”

But the hospitalization rate is low according to the very public health officials they’re amplifying. It’s just 3.7%, according to the Tacoma Pierce County Health Department’s COVID dashboard. The COVID case rate? Also low at 86 per 100,000 people. It doesn’t get into concerning territory until it reaches 200. Moreover, deaths are so low that they “couldn’t reliably calculate the rate.”

How does this warrant a return to masks? It doesn’t.

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KING 5 is sounding the alarms on flu deaths. The news comes after media outlets and some doctors pretended we had no flu cases during COVID.

The network warns that “flu deaths reach 13 in Washington, nearly doubling in one week.” Sounds terrifying. And while we’d all obviously prefer the number of flu-related deaths be zero, 13 during the flu season is not alarming or especially noteworthy.

There were 245 in 2018-2019 and 296 in 2017-2018. Even in the year before the pandemic, when the flu season was mild, we saw 114 deaths. A total of 13 deaths should be reported only insomuch as it’s low. It’s also worth noting that the majority of patients had significant underlying health conditions.

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But it’s a tridemic!

You know what sounds scarier than a pandemic? A tridemic!

Some media outlets are hyping up the possibility that someone could get COVID, the flu, and RSV (Respiratory syncytial).

“Some people are calling it the ‘tridemic,’” said Kelli Hawkins, a spokeswoman for the Spokane Regional Health District, to the Spokesman Review. “Whether it’s influenza, RSV or COVID-19, what’s really tricky is they all have similar symptoms.”

Is it possible to get all three viruses at once? Sure. But it’s incredibly rare and it’s just as valid to report you could get all three viruses and get hit by a bus on the way to the hospital. It’s extremely unlikely but it’s possible. And it’s also important to note we’re not experiencing a flu or RSV pandemic so it’s not possible to have a “tridemic.”

COVID coverage broke the media

Journalists, particularly in cities like Seattle where wearing a mask earn progressives social currency, went overboard during COVID.

They stopped reporting the news and instead became cheerleaders for Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Biden administration, and pharmaceutical companies. They didn’t merely explain the pandemic but advocated political positions around it. Some did it to curry favor with a public that was scared and trusted everything Fauci said. Other reporters liked to be seen as heroes saving lives. Still, some believed they were, in fact, saving lives.

But the end result was a media that simply refused to question public health officials like any good journalist should. Had they asked questions instead of demonize those who did, they may have discovered the misinformation they were reporting — all while, ironically, condemning “misinformation” that turned out to be true.

And they got so used to over-the-top reporting that coverage of a flu season and a mild uptick in COVID hospitalizations turns into another excuse to scream the sky is falling.

The media plays an important role in disimenating information during legitimate health crises. But recent coverage is giving reason to many people not to trust us.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show on weekday afternoons from 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast. Follow @JasonRantz on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook. Check back frequently for more news and analysis.

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Rantz: Seattle media restarts fearmongering over COVID, flu and fake ‘tridemic’