The people of Michigan are starting to see the fear-driven headlines that our hospitals are reaching capacity and Covid-19 positive case rates and hospitalizations are climbing.

For instance, I found the following headline at the MLive news site “St. Joseph Mercy Hospital Ann Arbor nears capacity as Michigan sees COVID-19 hospitalizations rise”.  The article proclaims in the first two paragraphs the following:

“Hospitalizations for COVID-19 are rising significantly in Michigan, and St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor is among the hospitals nearing capacity.

As of Monday, April 5, St. Joe’s was at 99% capacity, according to the state. Hospital officials said there were 81 COVID-19 positive patients on Wednesday morning.”

The first thing I thought to myself was; what is the bed capacity of the hospital and what percentage of the hospital beds are used by positive Covid-19 patients?  It took me about 6 seconds to determine that St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor has a bed capacity of 537.

That would mean the 81 Covid-19 patients actually occupy only 15% of their available beds.  This percentage of beds assigned for Covid-19 patients could increase if they must reduce he number of beds available to other patients.  Thus the 15% could increase to 20, 25 or 30% if they are all double bed rooms and they only allow one bed per room.

I then found the following headline on via WWMT Channel 3 in Kalamazoo “Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo reaches 99% capacity”. In that article they report:

"Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reported the hospital had 49 COVID-19 patients,"

It took me another 6 seconds to determine that Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo has a 434-bed capacity.  I then found out in that same 6-second search the following reported by MLive back on April 2, 2020:

“Bronson Methodist Hospital was approved for an additional 300 beds, according to Michigan Department of Health and Human Services records. The hospital is now licensed for 734 beds in total.”

That would mean the 49 Covid-19 patients actually occupy only 6.6% of their available 734 beds or 11.3% of their available 434 beds. All if not most Bronson rooms are single bed.  Now the percentages of beds available could be reduced due to wings being assigned for Covid-19 patients.

None of the above article informed you of the hospital's bed capacity or the percentage of Covid-19 cases of their hospital beds.  Ask yourself why?

Without the “news” media informing you of the bed capacity data that I have informed you of, how are you as a consumer of their “news” putting their numbers into context?

Well, the design of their headlines and the content of their articles are not designed to fully inform you and let you form your opinion.  They are designed to make you think one thing and one thing only.  The hospitals are reaching capacity because Covid-19 positive case rates are increasing along with hospitalizations.

It is either their intent to lead you in the direction they want or they chose not to put in the bed capacity and percentage of beds occupied by Covid-19 patients for some other reason.

Which one is it “news” media?

By the way, I am not attempting to pick on MLive, MSN or WWMT there are plenty of examples of their kissing cousins producing the same headlines and content within those headlines.

The Live with Renk show airs Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to noon, to let me know your thoughts call (269) 441-9595

LOOK: Answers to 30 common 

While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.

More From WKMI