David Trinko: Nearly done sharing those COVID stats

The national emergency is nearly over. So, too, will be our weekly updates about it.

The Department of Health and Human Services announced the public health emergency for COVID-19 will expire on May 11.

“Our response to the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, remains a public health priority, but thanks to the Administration’s whole of government approach to combatting the virus, we are in a better place in our response than we were three years ago, and we can transition away from the emergency phase,” according to hhs.gov.

Once this happens, The Lima News will stop reporting the weekly number of COVID-19 cases, deaths and recoveries, which have been a staple of the print and online editions since March 2020.

It’s been a long three years for everyone, and it’s been especially long for us. We’ve taken plenty of criticism from people on all sides over sharing these numbers every week.

Some people say we overhyped the virus all along, and we only shared these numbers to scare you.

Others say we undeplayed the virus all along, and it’s our fault some people died from it.

The truth, as it often is, lies somewhere between the extremes. We did the best we could with the data available to keep you informed.

When there were a lot of people dying with COVID-19, we told you about it. We were always careful to write “with” instead of “from,” by the way, as we know the virus wasn’t always the primary cause of death.

When the numbers of deaths went down, we told you about that too.

We’ve considered stopping sharing these numbers several times before, thinking the great fears of the pandemic had passed. Right before winter started, reporter Mackenzi Klemann and I discussed it at length, and we thought it would be wise to wait until after the winter months, when many diseases spread more easily since we’re all indoors more.

We revisited the topic again this week, when we decided it made sense to keep sharing the numbers until the government declares the public health emergency over.

We get it that not everyone sees the pandemic the same way. Truthfully, none of us in the newsroom do either. If I’m honest with you, I gave up on making COVID-19 a primary concern in my life about two and a half years ago. Still, I’m not running a newsroom for my own benefit; I run it for yours.

We received enough calls asking for clarification on the numbers and enough pageviews on them to realize you still cared about them. We see around 600 people a week reading the numbers. I’ve always said if 100 people find something useful and it’s not too laborious, we’ll keep finding a way to share it. After all, if we don’t track it, who will?

We feel like we owe at least that much to you in return for you trusting us to deliver your local news.


See past columns by David Trinko at LimaOhio.com/tag/trinko.

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David Trinko is editor of The Lima News. Reach him at 567-242-0467, by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @Lima_Trinko.