US states accused of fudging coronavirus testing data

Public health officials in some US states are accused of bungling coronavirus infection statistics or even using a little sleight of hand to deliberately make things look better than they are. The risk is that politicians, business owners and ordinary Americans who are making decisions about lockdowns, reopenings and other day-to-day matters could be left with the impression that the virus is under more control than it actually is. Public health experts say that can make for impressive-looking testing totals but does not give a true picture of how the virus is spreading. Spokeswoman Candice Broce insisted that the governor’s office is not telling the department what to do and that officials are not trying to dress up the data to make Mr Kemp look better, saying that “could not be further from the truth”. As for the May 11 graph, Ms Broce said public health officials were trying to highlight which days had seen the highest peaks of infections. Still, health officials in Virginia, where Democratic Governor Ralph Northam has eased up on restrictions, said that combining the numbers caused “no difference in overall trends”. In Texas, where health officials said last week that they were including some antibody results in their testing totals and case counts, Republican Governor Greg Abbott said on Monday that the numbers were not being commingled. Georgia’s Department of Public Health also regularly publishes a graph that shows cases over time, except new infections are not listed on the day they came back positive, which is the practice in many other states.