Patch is a hyperlocal news agency that is based out of New York City and today, one patch reporter, Karen Wall is coming under fire for a report entitled, “Best-Case Scenario: August Peak For Coronavirus In Ocean County”.
Patch operates hyperlocal news websites across the country. Despite estimates from federal officials that the coronavirus peak is expected in the next two weeks, Wall published a report by the often inaccurate New York Times as fact to her readers. “If severe control measures including strict social distancing do not remain in place, coronavirus infections could top 100,000 in Ocean County by early May,” she said.
By those estimates, Wall is predicting nearly 1,500 deaths across Ocean County, according to a 1.5% global mortality rate for the disease.
Wall claims Ocean County’s infection rate would be nearly 30%. These figures don’t represent even the hardest-hit countries in the world. For instance, Italy which is one of the hardest hit countries with a population of 60.48 million people had 105,000 confirmed infections. That means in 1 in 576 Italians were infected with the virus.
If Wall’s report is true, that would mean one in five Ocean County residents would be infected, making Ocean County by far the hardest-hit places in the entire world.
Readers were not buying it, labeling the story as nothing but sensational fearmongering and ad revenue clickbait.
“Stop posting BS nonsense and fear. Nobody can predict a peak. Patch should be banned for spreading fear,” one reader name “Pete” responded.
“What is the purpose of writing this article? To contribute to the media negativity that is already out of control? Will this article help to alleviate the long lines at Costco and BJ’s? Will this article contribute to us finally seeing toilet paper on store shelves,” said John Sabo. “Or was the purpose of writing the article to cause even more panic? I was wondering if the writer of this article was the same one who wrote the Patch article “Somerset County Stops Recycling Pickups Amid Coronavirus Spread,” and sure enough it was her! She was so full of baloney! Somerset County recycling pickups were made on schedule! It gets me wondering about her credibility in this article, and anything else she writes going forward! Unbelievable…”
“Has anyone noticed that the news from the NYT is diametrically different from reality?” asked another reader.
“The news from the nyt is reality unlike fantasy news from some of our leaders,” barked another.
“This is a poorly written article – at best. What crap Patch….just scary click bait,” wrote another reader, named Harry.
“This is irresponsible. The peak is coming around April 8 and will be gone by mid May according to our best models. Don’t spread this August nonsense,” responded Christopher Barnes