As countless Austinites struggle to afford food and rent because of government shutdowns, are local officials actually using good data to justify crippling citizens’ livelihoods?
This week, Austin-Travis County Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott downgraded the city to Stage 3 on their self-created “risk-based guidelines” chart, saying at a press conference last week that coronavirus hospitalizations are declining and overall case numbers are falling.
“Our hospitals continue to be in a better situation. The hospitalization numbers continue to decline,” Escott said.
Furthermore, Dr. Escott said much of the recent “spike” of new cases was, in reality, a “reporting error,” a backlogged pile of state laboratory data they just received earlier this month that contained cases dating back as far as April. Dr. Escott said he and his staff checked through those cases and found a majority of them were duplicate records that they had already investigated. Escott’s staff also found that 40-50 percent were no longer active cases.