85 Babies Died From COVID-19 In Texas Yesterday

Got your attention, didn't I?

“85 babies died in Texas from COVID-19” is what people infer when they read the following headline: 85 infants under age 1 tested positive for coronavirus in one Texas county. When someone digs deeper into the story, there is a lot of missing information.

This is what was written in the CNN article today, and posted at the top of Twitter’s timeline:

We currently have 85 babies under the age of one year in Nueces County that have all tested positive for Covid-19," said Annette Rodriguez, director of public health for Corpus Christi Nueces County. 

"These babies have not even had their first birthday yet. Please help us stop the spread of this disease."

She did not provide additional details on their conditions.

That last sentence is really all you need to know. It’s irresponsible for a news outlet to report this without following up. It’s even more reprehensible that Twitter would make this a trending story. It appears as if people read headlines and rarely read details.

She did not provide additional details on their conditions.

Why not? I would ask Annette Rodriguez the following questions:

  1. Were the babies showing symptoms? If they didn’t have symptoms, why were they tested in the first place?

  2. Are the babies ill, and were they hospitalized?

  3. Were they tested randomly?

  4. Who tested the children, and who gave this director of public health the information?

  5. Can it be verified and who is vouching for the integrity of these numbers?

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Stories like these are more of the panic porn we’ve seen for the past few months. While some of the things being reported were alarming, too many stories today feed into whatever narrative the media outlet chooses to perpetuate. Are we just to trust what is being told to us? How do we even know this is true?

The remainder of the article said nothing about the children, the tests, the number of kids being examined, at what point they were tested, or did this occur in one hospital or area of town? In other words, the article did not provide additional details on their conditions. The remainder of the article had information about how Nueces County has the fastest growth in new cases on the seven-day average and how a huge spike in cases is why Nueces County has a major problem.

What does this information have to do with 85 babies testing positive for COVID-19?

Corpus Christi has about 8,100 coronavirus cases and 82 deaths linked to the virus, local officials said. Other Texas counties such as Cameron and Hidalgo are so dire, health officials are stocking up on refrigerated trucks to store bodies as morgues fill up. 

Why are they connecting Corpus Christi to Cameron and Hildago counties? Texas has 254 counties with vastly different demographics.

In a letter to Gov. Greg Abbot, state representatives Sheila Jackson Lee and Joaquin Castro said that local jurisdictions should be granted the ability to issue stay at home orders to help contain coronavirus cases. 

"Texas is now not where it should be relating to fighting Covid-19. Therefore, your office should take immediate action to rewind the efforts to reopen the state quickly; which came about by ignoring CDC guidelines," the letter said. "We need to provide local authority to local counties and cities to do what is in the best interest of their communities."

What does any of this have to do with babies who are allegedly contracting COVID-19? What message is being sent with this information? Babies have no choice but to stay home. They are infants!

It’s clear to me that the media is irresponsible. These stories only feed into irrational fear and terrorizes the general public. It’s clear panic porn. People need to ask tougher questions and there must be more pushback. Social media outlets are flooded with stories with salacious headlines like this and no one considers what is actually being said. The headline is click-bait and too many fall for it.

Before reporting on such alarming news, why not wait for more information? After so much misinformation over the past few months, it’s getting harder for people to believe anything.

We now have news reports like this: Florida reported 100% positive COVID-19 tests from some labs. That's wrong, hospital system says. When we have these kinds of reports, in conjunction with our president who can’t stop lying, governors who continuously pass the buck when it comes to accountability, and mayors who would rather paint murals than run major cities, how can we not be skeptical of the news we read?

Hey, I may be completely wrong in my assessment. Maybe 85 babies did test positive. There might be a serious situation happening in that one county of Texas. The director of public health might actually need babies to wear masks and socially distance so no other babies get infected. It’s quite possible that, once again, we all need to stay at home, or not go to bars, or picnics, or protests—nevermind, protests are ok—or to stay in fear until there is a vaccine after all. Who knows!

Think things through.

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Clayton Craddock is an independent thinker, father of two beautiful children in New York City. He is the drummer of the hit broadway musical Ain’t Too Proud. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from Howard University’s School of Business and is a 25 year veteran of the fast-paced New York City music scene. He has played drums in a number of hit broadway and off-broadway musicals including “Tick, tick…BOOM!Altar BoyzMemphis The Musical and Lady Day At Emerson’s Bar and Grill. In addition, Clayton has worked on: Footloose, Motown, The Color Purple, Rent, Little Shop of Horrors, Evita, Cats, and Avenue Q.