Misleading NYT graph juices Colorado virus death trend

Defying apocalyptic predictions, Colorado was not particularly hard-hit by the Coronavirus. The number of cases and deaths per capita were in the middling part of the U.S. range.

Moreover, in Colorado the virus is nearly dead now. A website set up by the state showing virus data over time shows this:


It can be seen that the daily death toll follows the classic bell-shaped curve that epidemiologists learn in med school. If anything, it’s better than one might hope for, in that the decline in right-hand part of the curve is steeper than the increase in the left-hand part. Yesterday, the death toll was zero.

One might think that the state’s largest newspaper would see this as news. They don’t.

Yesterday’s Denver Post reported that the death counts were being revised to account for some reclassification of deaths over the last month. And they reported the overall totals in state deaths. And they reported on some other odds and ends, mostly focusing on the overall numbers while completely ignoring the trends.

They didn’t report at all the information shown in this state graph. They didn’t report or even allude to the dramatic decline in virus deaths.

The New York Times is even worse. Their website showing daily deaths in Colorado contains this graph:


That’s dramatically different than the state graph reproduced above. While the state graph – the simple and accurate one – shows the virus peaking and declining to zero, the NYT graph shows no peak, and even a gradual rise to the present.

Note: Some Colorado deaths were originally classified as non-COVID, and were later reclassified as COVID. The NYT graph evidently presents those reclassified deaths as light grey bars, while presenting the deaths that were classified as COVID all along as dark grey bars. But this does not account for their error. Regardless of how you look at their graph — dark bars alone or dark plus light bars, it simply does not remotely match the trend lines in the state graph.



13 thoughts on “Misleading NYT graph juices Colorado virus death trend

  1. Just proof that both the NY Times is a panic driver to support democrats AND that the cure (lockdown) is worse than the disease.

  2. Time to open up! True # of deaths has been grossly inflated, and prevalence of the virus grossly underestimated. True death rate appears to be about that of seasonal flu. And it is not an accepted practice to isolate the HEALTHY during a pandemic or epidemic — The ill and most vulnerable should be those who are set apart and protected, and life should go on.

    • Not only that but they are constantly equating the fact that if you get Covid-19 you will die from Covid-19. Not true.

  3. It is reasonable to believe that the infection rate and death rate would be much higher in the absence of widespread efforts to isolate and use masks and and hand washing. It is also rational to recognize that “the economy” is a lot more vital to everyone’s welfare than the process fantasized by extreme leftists, whereby “greedy capitalists” exploit “working people.” Opening the economy by gradually lightening up on restrictions, while monitoring the results in individual counties and metropolitan areas, is the right way to proceed, and now is the right time to start the process.

  4. Dr Beaton, I just don’t get it, I just don’t get it, I just don’t get it. How can these people be or even get this bad? This journey they have taken to almost complete self-delusion is disturbing, saddening, breathtaking, etc. And it’s not just them, see the Federalist article about the WSJ’s hit piece on Sec’y Azar (with a great timeline at the end). See the Atlantic’s recent screed on Trump. I think we’re in their final push (with almost full hysteria, delusion, mendacity, hypocrisy, and lies) for the next 7 months to derail Trump. Hugh Hewitt, who loves the press and has tried to show that some still have some ethics, has even started calling them out. It has got to collapse. Maybe Bill Maher’s recent question about the debt we have incurred was a start. PS Interestingly, today’s tele-Sermon was about the delusion of Israel that crescendo’d to Elijah’s encounter with the prophets of Baal on Mt Carmel. (1 Kings 18). Keep up the good work, but maybe start figuring out how to start “Beaton’s Gulch, Colorado.” Regards, Doug

  5. Glenn, this needs more research. By you. The Colorado graph is day by day. The NYT graph is labeled a 7 day average. Apples and oranges. Please advise.

    • You’ve misread the NYT graph. It’s a moving DAILY AVERAGE of a running seven day period. It’s not the combined seven days.

      If it were as you’ve suggested, the peak would be a couple hundred, not the peak shown of 35, because at the peak Colorado was averaging over 30/day, as shown by the graph of Colorado deaths from the Colorado website. In addition, combined seven day periods would still not show it peaking toward the end, because in fact the greatest seven day period was two weeks ago.

      I assume the reason they averaged the daily count over a running seven day period was for the purpose of smoothing the curve. Fine, but they got the numbers way too high.

  6. As usual you’re spot on. Cumulative numbers mean squat. All they do is scare people into accepting their rights being taken away. It’s not by chance that they don’t show new hospitalizations and new discharges by day. We were told this had to be done to flatten the curve. The curve wasn’t cumulative. And the last time I saw the Polis curve chart was the day he shut down the state. Keep up the great work

  7. I have a vague memory of deaths being reclassified as virus deaths or some counties reporting deaths late.

    The Colorado numbers appear to be by date of death. If the NYT numbers are honest I’m guessing they’re by date reported. So a number of deaths reported after the fact will show a spike in the numbers. I think a similar spike shows up in New York City numbers because they reclassified a bunch of earlier deaths.

  8. First, I truly hope the graph & reality are congruent. People need to work and get out and I’m thankful fewer are infected and at risk. I apologize for the length and didn’t intend to hijack the thread. Unfortunately, truth takes space & time, where lies do not.

    From a different perspective, let’s take a look at NY, their political stance, & what happened to help make them the worst hit area. I ask that you consider these two questions: Was this competent leadership? Are these the kinds of people you want governing you? Compiled from various sources, easily found.

    January 24 – NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, “We have to act on the assumption that there will unfortunately be cases sooner rather than later in New York City. . . . We are working from the assumption that it’s a profound challenge. There’s no one here who is minimizing it.” – So he knew it was coming & would be a “profound challenge”, but then adds misinformation, “What we do know, to date, is that only through prolonged exposure can someone contract this virus. It is not a situation as with some other diseases where a single contact would be enough.”

    January 26 – NYC Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot, “It’s inevitable that we will have someone who is positive with coronavirus….We are encouraging New Yorkers to go about their everyday lives and suggest practicing everyday precautions that we do through the flu season.” She added that those “who had recently traveled from Wuhan were not being urged to self-quarantine or avoid large public gatherings.”

    Jan 31, 2020 – Trump closes down travel from China. New visa’s stopped, Americans returning home subject to 14 day quarantine. NY Times calls Trump racist.

    Feb 2 – Travel ban expanded.

    Feb 5, 2020 – NYC Health Commissioner Barbot, “Today our city is celebrating the Lunar New Year parade in Chinatown, a beautiful cultural tradition with a rich history in our city. I want to remind everyone to enjoy the parade and not change any plans due to misinformation spreading about coronavirus.”

    Feb 9 – “We know in China, so many of our loved ones are facing the challenges of the coronavirus, but we stand together,” de Blasio said. Senator Chuck Schumer was also in attendance, and he declared, “We love the fact that so many people come from all around the globe and make our city and our country a better place.”
    NYC Councilman Mark D. Levine, “In powerful show of defiance of coronavirus scare, huge crowds gathering in NYC’s Chinatown for ceremony ahead of annual Lunar New Year parade. If you are staying away, you are missing out.”

    Feb 14, 2020 NYC Mayor’s Office: “There are ZERO confirmed cases of coronavirus in New York City, and hundreds of Chinese restaurants that need your business! There is nothing to fear. Stop by any Chinatown for lunch or dinner!”

    Feb 26, 2020 – Bill De Blasio lies. “No one should take the coronavirus situation lightly. In fact, I think the problem we’re seeing in many countries of the world is that there was not an aggressive approach and there was not transparency and there was not a willingness to fully acknowledge the danger. Here in New York City, we took the exact opposite approach.”

    Feb 27, 2020 – Mayor De Blasio. “We have literally 1,200 hospital beds that we can turn on if we need to if it turns into something bigger and we have every element — public health and every other element of government — out there trying to make sure that people know to get to care, and they’re making it easy for them to get to care.”

    March 1, 2020 – NYC Health officials announced the first confirmed case in New York, a woman who contracted the virus while in Iran.

    March 2, 2020 – Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio, and city health officials held a press briefing about the city’s first confirmed case.
    Governor Cuomo, “In this situation, the facts defeat fear, because the reality is reassuring. It is deep-breath time.”

    Discussing the fatality rate, he said, “1.4 percent, that’s extrapolating from China and other countries. 80 percent, it’ll resolve on their own. The woman who has now tested positive, she’s at home, she’s not even in a hospital, so the perspective here is important. And the facts, once you know the facts, once you know the reality, it is reassuring, and we should relax, because that’s what’s dictated by the reality of the situation. I get the emotion, I understand; I understand the anxiety. I’m a native-born New Yorker, we live with anxiety. But the facts don’t back it up here. . . . What happened in other countries versus what happened here, we don’t even think it’s going to be as bad as it was in other countries.”
    “Excuse our arrogance as New Yorkers — I speak for the mayor also on this one — we think we have the best health care system on the planet right here in New York. So, when you’re saying, what happened in other countries versus what happened here, we don’t even think it’s going to be as bad as it was in other countries.”

    De Blasio concurred. “We have a lot of information now, information that is actually showing us things that should give us more reason to stay calm and go about our lives. . . . This is not, so far, something that you get through casual contact. There has to be some prolonged exposure. And I think it’s really important to get that information out to all New Yorkers.”

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