Why I report coronavirus data

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Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter

It never ceases to amaze me, whenever I read the feedback to stories I post with information about COVID-19 cases, that the majority of the responses take some form of accusation that reporting that information is “fear mongering.”

So, after more than six months, I’ve finally read that accusation one too many times, and I’m compelled to address it.

Almost every day since last March that the Quad-County Emergency Operations Center began sending out daily updates on case numbers of COVID-19 in Lyon, Storey and Douglas counties and Carson City, I’ve posted a story on the number of cases, recoveries and deaths in the region and in Lyon County specifically. Quad-County EOC has tweaked its updates a few times since then. They used to include the number of patients hospitalized, but they no longer do, and recently they stopped providing updates on weekends.

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I say that I have reported that almost every day, because there have been occasional days when I haven’t. I’ve been asked why sometimes I skip a day here or there, usually with either the insinuation, and sometimes with the flat out accusation, that I didn’t report on a certain day because there weren’t enough cases. The reason I have skipped some days is the same as the reason there are days I don’t post anything at all – once in a while, I take a day off.

I started posting the case numbers, and continue to do so, simply because this is the reason that was used to shut down the state, and continues to be used to justify schools being either closed or on various hybrid learning models different districts around the state have adopted, and keep certain business closed. Whether you agree politically with shutting down or not, is of no interest to me. Whether I agree or disagree with shutting things down is also irrelevant, and has no bearing on what I report.

It’s simple. The state, and Governor Sisolak, are using this information to determine what can and what can’t be open, and what you can and can’t do. That means, you need that information.

In fact, since the criteria now whether to open bars and other businesses includes the number of tests performed in each county per day and the rate of positive tests, I would report that every day if I had access to the information. As it is, I report it whenever that is released, when is usually every couple of weeks, or whenever Sisolak holds a press conference update.

As for the other question that inevitably comes up – are you going to report every flu case like you do coronavirus?

You’re damn right I will, when they use it to justify shutting things down.

That’s why the accusation of fear mongering is so astounding to me. Some people read the case numbers and can’t believe things are being shut down over such a small percentage of the population testing positive. But others see that, and somehow think it means I’m trying to spread fear.

The same thing happened this week when I reported that a Fernley High School staff member had tested positive. That is absolutely information the public needs to know. But that’s all it is. Reporting that something happened does not equate to telling you how you should feel about it.

To be 100 percent clear, I not only have no interest in telling people what they should think, I have even less interest in telling people what I think. My opinions are my own, and I only share them with a select few people.

The numbers I report are just that – numbers. When I get a message or see a comment that says “I agree with you” or “I disagree with you,” I can only shake my head. There is nothing in any of those stories to agree or disagree with me about. It’s just numbers.

If anyone reads those updates and sees any kind of agenda there, that’s their malfunction, not mine.

4 thoughts on “Why I report coronavirus data

  • September 8, 2020 at 9:36 pm
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    A BIG thank you Robert Perea! People still don’t take the pandemic seriously. They say it is political and blame the Governor when he is looking after the welfare of the public.

    Reply
  • September 9, 2020 at 7:04 am
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    Thank you for reporting the statistics you receive on the virus. It has nothing to do with politics, facts are what they are. If it isn’t what some people want to hear it’s fake news. A lot of your readers appreciate getting your reports. People need to be informed on what is going on in our communities. Keep you the good work.

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  • September 9, 2020 at 8:31 am
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    Thank you for your reporting information, not editorializing!

    Reply
  • September 10, 2020 at 11:13 am
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    Thank you for holding true to the standards of your profession. It is a shame that most people in Lyon County either do not understand the ethics of journalism or confuse paid actors playing a role with true journalists.

    Reply

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