By: Mark Glennon*

Rich Miller of Capitol Fax didn’t like my recent article, Unacceptable: Illinois and Certain Other States Not Releasing COVID-19 Hospitalization Numbers. It lays out why hospitalization numbers on COVID-19 are key and why states that aren’t providing them, including Illinois, should be.

That makes me a “covidiot,” he says, and he wrote,

The overall numbers track everywhere. So even without hospitalization numbers, we have a pretty good idea from looking at other countries and other states what they likely are here. In other words, despite what “Dr.” Glennon and his ilk say, we don’t actually need hospitalization numbers to see how bad things are. What they instead appear to be doing is sowing doubt among the populace. There’s more than enough misinformation and panic out there already without trying to manufacture something out of thin air.

That’s deeply irresponsible and dishonest.

My article, which Miller did not link to or attempt to honestly summarize, makes a point now being widely expressed; If anything I should be criticized for not being original. That point is that the response to COVID-19 must be precise and precision requires focus on the right data, which should include hospitalization information. ProPublica, a center-left operation, wrote essentially the same thing and called on reporters nationwide to try to find the data in states like Illinois that aren’t giving it.

ProPublica quoted New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo who, when he briefs the media and the public about the status of the coronavirus pandemic in his state, pays particular attention to two numbers: How many patients with COVID-19 are in the hospital and how many require intensive care. “That is the number we watch because that’s the number that are flowing into the health care system,” Cuomo said on March 18, adding that 549 patients were in the hospital as of that morning.

Cuomo is right to do that because resources obviously are in short supply and they have to be deployed as rationally as possible, which was precisely the point of my article. Cuomo has made the case why New York needs special attention, which it is getting.

See the rest of my article for other reasons why hospitalization numbers are more important than the widely reported numbers of new cases. Many other articles across the world, from all different political perspectives, have said essentially the same thing.

As I said in my article, hospitalizations “will be an essential number in deciding when to loosen the emergency shutdown of so much of our economy. If we do that later than necessary the economic disaster will be worse than it need be; do it too early and the human disaster will be worse. We will be driving blindfolded if we make that decision without hospitalization numbers.”

I don’t think anybody debating the data issues is playing doctor — not ProPublica, me or any of countless others who have written about it, including Miller who is obviously doing the same. Wirepoints is trying to identify the most meaningful data, which have been a god-awful mess since the COVID-19 crisis started.

And if requesting hospitalization numbers makes somebody a covidiot, Miller himself said he wants them, so what the heck? “Look, I’d like to have the numbers, too, and I’ve asked for them,” he wrote.

As for Miller’s claim that my purpose was to sow doubt, my article couldn’t have been more clear: “None of this is meant to imply that current levels of social distancing and shutdowns are too harsh or too lenient. It’s just that policy should be informed by facts — facts we don’t have.”

He ignored what else I have written on this, such as, “I think the restraints in place are about right in light of the very dire projections for those numbers, but I am not surprised by the skepticism and I am keeping an open mind about the right policy.”

And I posted this comment earlier in the Top News on our homepage:

But you won’t see those things in Capitol Fax and his comment section. There, he routinely screens out comments that don’t fit his story line, with only a few exceptions he uses to cite as cover. If he didn’t do so, his site would be as overrun with comments questioning the political establishment, especially its numbers, as you see in Wirepoints.

What Miller doesn’t understand is that doubt wouldn’t be sown about Illinois government numbers if we had a history of getting honest numbers.

We don’t have that history, and Rich Miller isn’t helping.

*Mark Glennon is founder of Wirepoints.

UPDATE: Governor Pritzker was asked in his daily briefing on Friday when Illinois will provide hospitalization numbers like New York and other states do. He said they have been talking to hospitals and collecting that data piecemeal but they will be “will be working on it this weekend.” Props for being responsive.

And Rich Miller has so far blocked our response in his comment section.

It’s important to note that the hospitalization information may well indicate things are even more dire than the other data. Information about one hospital we have obtained is indeed extremely severe.

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Rich Miller's Conscience
8 months ago

Come on guys. I live in Springfield and Mr. Madigan runs this town. If himself tells me to write something then I have to write it. I’m not really a journalist. You guys know that, but I still have bills to pay. Just like you. How else do I feed my dog?

If himself says that suppressing these numbers gives Illinois more federal money so that everyone can get their beaks wet then I have to go along.

Rich Miller's Conscience
8 months ago
Reply to  Mark Glennon

Awwww Mr Glennon, I’m blushing. You can’t see it under my scraggly beard but I’m blushing. You give me far more credit than I deserve. First off, I really do simply write what himself and his minions tell me to write. Nothing else. Sometimes I dont even have to write it; they have it prewritten for me. Except for blocking posts on my Capitol Fax website I really don’t have much else to do. In a way its a sort of ghost payrolling job with a bit more effort than most. Second, I dont know anything. They dont tell me… Read more »

debtsor
8 months ago

There are two kinds of journalism: Investigative journalism and access journalism. Investigative journalism is when the journalist looks at the pieces of the puzzle and puts them together, and as they say, shines the light on the darkness. It’s about exposing what goes on behind the scenes and informing the public. The other kind of journalism, access journalism, like Rich Miller, is pure propaganda. It’s having the connections to powerful people, who feed you information, and like a lapdog, they write it up. There’s no investigation, or skill. It’s literally just writing things that other people with an agenda tell… Read more »

Governor of Alderaan
8 months ago

As if Miller has a conscience!

Tom Paine's Ghost
8 months ago

Rich Miller is a ventriloquist dummy parroting the Illinois Democrat Totalatarian and Tyrannical party line. Picture, if you can do so without vomiting, Mike Madigan’s arm shoved up Rich Miller’s very ample backside and Madigan’s bony skeleton hands making Miller’s mouth move.

Tom Paine's Ghost
8 months ago

Wow. Judging by the negative votes it looks like Rich Miller and his Madigoons have been busy visiting Wirepoints. For Mark and Ted I hope that this unusual jump in viewership translates into some sort of internet revenue jump. Wirepoints readers are smart enough to see these comments as mockery and sarcasm, so the only explanation I can see for the negative votes is the brain dead Madigoons. Or Rich Miller being annoyed enough to create a half-dozen internet accounts to vote the comments down. Or perhaps these negative votes are the squeals of public sector union piglets afraid of… Read more »

debtsor
8 months ago
Reply to  Mark Glennon

The Chinese government attacked the first doctor who posted on wechat that a new SARS like disease was spreading in the community. They made him retract his comments, arrested him, and now he too died of SARS. It’s a bit like these pensioners and state employees. None of them want to admit the truth, and they will lie, and attack, and cover up the fact that their pension is on shaky ground. To even admit there is a problem is to admit the need for a solution, and that solution requires cutting pensions. They’d rather put their heads in the… Read more »

Tom Paine's Ghost
8 months ago
Reply to  Mark Glennon

And 24 hours later they are still persistently voting down this string’s comments. Amazing. Imagine if these Madigoons had directed this determination and persistence to something of real societal value instead of spending a lifetime as parasites upon the Illinois taxpayers.

Speaking of Conscience, I find it hard to believe that Madigoons can get a good honest nights sleep considering their lifetime of theft, graft and corruption. For 70 years they have stolen from every hardworking man, woman and child in Illinois. They should be tormented with their evil. Shameful and deeply sinful.

debtsor
8 months ago

The logic, according to the comments sections when I occasionally review CapFax, is that the government is supporting the ‘middle class’ and to remove these protections is to destroy what is left of the middle class. YOu can tell them no one in the private sector receives such lucrative pensions, they ask why government needs to stoop to the low wage levels of private business.

Manfred Downstate
8 months ago

It’s hard to believe that Wirepoints’ call for the release of hospitalization numbers would raise a storm around here. Of course we should have that information! Yes, I would want to know how many patients with COVID-19 are in the hospital and how many require intensive care. I would also like to know how many went to the hospital but didn’t need to go/weren’t admitted. Somewhat on this note: WBEZ Radio 91.5 Chicago March 28, 2020 Weekend Edition Saturday: Hour 1 Time marker 6:45 min – 15:00 min. This was a surprisingly even-handed segment from NPR’s Scott Simon about the… Read more »

Old Spartan
8 months ago

Fortunately I think we could all tell that your “John Kass” commentator wan’t the real JK. The real Kass has a lot of intelligent things to offer. This bitter and angry phony did not. I never know how easy it is for a dishonest person to post using somebody else’s name. One of the dangers of the electronic age I guess.

Susan
8 months ago

Hearsay evidence suggests that the Northwestern Medical company (which purchased hospitals in rural collar counties) is practicing non-uniform prioritization protocols across different hospitals and regions. Every patient and medical worker should document their hospital’s testing and treatment protocols, as well as amounts of supplies distributed (as a factor of hospital or staff census). Supply distribution comes from a centralized source (such as pharmacy benefits manager (PBM) or group buying organization (GBO) of a hospital chain. Distribution within the hospital chain locations shoud be color blind: red or blue or green should not be a factor in the algorithm deciding which… Read more »

NB-Chicago
8 months ago

Was illinois getting declaired a fema disaster zone (i believe yesterday), and hence i assume big fema $, dependent on # of confirmed covoid cases or # hospitalized? Unfortuately as the pandemic unfolds, states trying to scramble for fed $ is what its going to come down to…especially bankrupt ill. and if anything the true covidiots or, maybe covid-cons are ill pols who dont want to tell the public what an sh#t-hole fiscal disaster we face. Let alone health disaster

8 months ago

How many n95 masks can Rich buy with the $23,800 Bloomberg paid him to run ads on his blog?

https://twitter.com/CitizenVMachine/status/1242813212036411393

Bob
8 months ago

This would explain all the bootlickers over there. Bloomberg only buys who he can control.

debtsor
8 months ago

Never pick a fight with a guy who buys ink by the barrel. And that barrel is currently partially funded by the state of IL.

debtsor
8 months ago
Reply to  Mark Glennon

Pixels are cheap but clicks are expensive. People actually pay Capitol Fax for Rich’s clicks too. State governments mostly. But you are perfectly well within your rights to defend yourself.

Illinois Entrepreneur
8 months ago

I read an article this morning that testing results are actually being prioritized, and that some “non-prioritized” people are not getting results for over 10 days. Peggy Noonan has an article about that in the WSJ. It’s not the testing kits that are the bottleneck, but the labs. As a result, the samples have a priority rating, and the labs test those first; not first come first serve. It would logically follow that the “total rate of infection” reported daily is not necessarily indicative of the CURRENT rate of infection. It could be that we are looking at a combination… Read more »

8 months ago

‘makes a point now being widely expressed’. Yeah, no one noticed how that point dropped out of the ether and Trump started tweeting on it the next day.

Twist yourself into a pretzel trying to justify your admonination that keeping workers at home was ‘insane’.

Keep harping on the public service workers who are getting a ‘paid vacation’.

In others words, FU.

8 months ago
Reply to  Mark Glennon

What, exactly, is not truthful? That you said closing down that much of the economy was ‘insane’ on Twitter? That you characterized state workers as getting a ‘paid vacatíon?’ (Hint- it’s on the front page of your website)? To IE? Is that your given name? I used that name to be upfront with Mark that I know what he had put on Twitter before he blocked me. The John Kass thing is a joke, obviously. As to the rest, trust me, I know there’s nothing gained from participating in a discussion on this forum. Despite his advocacy of government sponsored… Read more »

chumpchange
8 months ago

Yeah, Twitter sounds more your speed. A lot of reasoned debate on there.

debtsor
8 months ago

OK Rich. Have you been drinking again?

Illinois Entrepreneur
8 months ago
Reply to  John Kass

Well, we know that you are not John Kass, but do tell us which public employee union are you a part of? Instead of ad hominem attacks, why not have a little debate to try and get your point across to those with open minds?

chumpchange
8 months ago
Reply to  John Kass

We know John. Orange man bad. Government good, especially when they provide protected seven figure pensions. Then, really good.