After the Texas governor closed bars and ordered restaurants to return to 50% capacity last week, national news media began to report on a misleading news story suggesting the Texas Medical Center’s online dashboard showed intensive care units at 100% capacity.
This quickly became a common talking point on liberal cable news channels like CNN and MSNBC.
Before we all get carried away and overreact, it's important everyone stop, take a breath, and acknowledge that this was literally fake news.
Dr. David Callender, President & CEO of Memorial Hermann Hospital, said, "We were getting panicked calls from elected officials and members of the media saying, ‘You all are out of ICU beds, what are we going to do?’ No, that’s not right. We were not doing a very good job with our slides and portraying how we manage our capacity."
He continued, "We want to be very clear. We’re not close to running out of capacity."
So, no, the hospitals aren't filled with sick COVID patients. This was a clerical error that terrified a lot of people and it also wasn't the first time we've seen people overreact to misleading COVID data in Texas according to Governor Greg Abbott, who explained last week how some of the infection related data we're now seeing is actually backlogged data from a jail in the Beaumont area.
On Saturday and Sunday Houston's biggest hospitals reformatted how they present new information in an effort to be more accurate and up to date on their reporting.
Bill McKeon, CEO of the Texas Medical Center, said, "We actually have all the slides that we had in the original deck now, and we’ve added four or five slides as our new baseline. We want to make sure we continue to educate properly. We don’t scare people, but we are also completely transparent with our data."
HOUSTON, TEXAS - JUNE 24: Vehicles move by Texas Children's Hospital amid the coronavirus outbreak on June 24, 2020 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Zeng Jingning/China News Service via Getty Images)