Dr David Tuller: BBC’s Problematic Coverage of New Long COVID Study

Countrygirl

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https://www.virology.ws/2021/10/03/...2BB9iReiz0abdkg9eDNdvtFjZzwafoAmubHLF6lKGAuQM


Trial By Error: BBC’s Problematic Coverage of New Long COVID Study
3 October 2021 by David Tuller Leave a Comment

By David Tuller, DrPH
Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, suggesting an equivalence between COVID-19 and influenza has been a consistent approach among those seeking to downplay the current situation. So it’s not surprising to see something similar happen with comparisons between Long COVID and the delayed recovery some people experience after an acute bout of the flu. The BBC has just provided an excellent example of how this framing can appear to minimize the significance of Long COVID.
An article in PLoS Medicine, published on September 28th, offered a look at Long COVID symptoms based on data from US electronic health records. The study, called Incidence, co-occurrence, and evolution of long-COVID features: A 6-month retrospective cohort study of 273,618 survivors of COVID-19,” tracked nine key symptom clusters: “breathing difficulties/breathlessness, fatigue/malaise, chest/throat pain, headache, abdominal symptoms, myalgia, other pain, cognitive symptoms, and anxiety/depression.”
The investigators found that 37% reported one or more symptoms during the third and sixth months following their COVID-19 diagnosis, among lots of other interesting data. In
 

nerd

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Coinciding with another flawed BBC report about Ivermectin:
https://bird-group.org/bbc-misleading-repor/

I see a pattern in how the press tries to avoid evidence-based reporting. They cherry pick primary evidence. They cherry pick or misquote contents of the primary evidence. They exaggerate the conclusions of the studies. They quote opinion papers as factual statements.

I'm not sure if there's an equivalent to the German press council in the UK or US. In Germany, I have opened two cases at the press council so far for blatantly misquoting evidence or for the expression of "expert opinions" as factual statements. I also opened a case at Poynter for a Facebook-funded German fact checking site "Correctiv" that doesn't want to accept oversight by the German press council. Poynter has a weaker code unfortunately, and I haven't received any reaction so far. If there's an option to file an independent complaint about the BBC reporting, I'd suggest taking it. Even if it fails, it can still help unveil how independent and reliable the oversight really is.
 

nerd

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There's actually an equivalent in the UK, called the ipso. But inaccurate or one-sided narration isn't necessarily a violation of the code unless the narrative translates into a factual misunderstanding. But especially for medical information, there's usually a higher standard. After the whole flu-Covid comparing desinformation we've seen from prominent virologists during the beginning of the pandemic, they should be aware of how this might be misunderstood and explicitly clarify what the study tells and what it doesn't tell.
 
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