Sunny Hostin defends Justice Sotomayor, makes another egregious error talking about kids with COVID

As Ed pointed out this morning, Justice Sotomayor received a bunch of fact-checks for some comments she made during oral arguments last week. Sotomayor had claimed there were “over 100,000 children” in serious condition with many on ventilators. But that wasn’t remotely accurate.

Today, the ladies of the View addressed Sotomayor’s comments and Sunny Hostin not only defended Sotomayor but put forward another misleading figure about kids with COVID. Hat tip to Caleb Howe who posted this clip on Twitter:

In defense of Sotomayor Hostin said, “She is correct that we have more children in the hospital now more than ever before. And it certainly reflects the current cases in children. Right now we have 82,843 children sick with COVID.”

But that figure she just mentioned is not the number of “current cases” or the number sick with COVID “right now” as Hostin framed it. In fact, that figure represents the total number of children hospitalized with COVID since August of 2020, more than 17 months ago. If Hostin had read Glenn Kessler’s fact check she would have known that [emphasis added]:

According to HHS data, as of Jan. 8 there are about 5,000 children hospitalized in a pediatric bed, either with suspected covid or a confirmed laboratory test. This figure includes patients in observation beds. So Sotomayor’s number is at least 20 times higher than reality, even before you determine how many are in “serious condition.”

Moreover, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been less than 100,000 — 82,843 to be exact — hospital admissions of children confirmed with covid since Aug. 1, 2020.

That was the current figure as of Saturday when Kessler published his story. If you check the CDC COVID tracker now the cumulative number of hospitalized kids is up to 85,369, but again that’s since August 1, 2020.

What Hostin has done here is make the same error that Justice Sotomayor made, i.e. giving a vastly inflated figure for the current number of sick kids. She almost clarifies it at the end of that clip saying fewer than 83,000 have been hospitalized, but at best she’s made a muddle of it. The casual viewer might easily believe she’s talking about current cases of kids with COVID.

This isn’t the first time the View hosts have shoved aside the issue of science in favor of politics. Just last week they all sided with the Chicago Teacher’s Union when it decided to stop showing up for in person classes because of concern about COVID. The word “science” never even appeared in their 5-minute clip about it.

As you’ll see at the end of this full clip of the discussion today, Sara Haines points out another problem with the CDC numbers. Every child who enters the hospital for any reason is being tested for COVID. So the fact that there are about 85,000 cumulative COVID cases among kids does not mean that 85,000 kids came to the hospital because they were unable to breath. An unknown number of these kids may be hospitalized for other reasons and may be asymptomatic. We don’t really know how many because the CDC still hasn’t separated out the people hospitalized with COVID from those hospitalized from COVID. But the bottom line is Justice Sotomayor was way off and Sunny Hostin made basically the same mistake trying to defend her.

Addendum: I got into an argument over Kessler’s fact-check this weekend on Twitter. Charlotte Clymer was arguing that Kessler also needed to fact-check Justice Gorsuch for an error she believed he had made.

Kessler pointed out that he had listened to the audio “ten times” before she brought it up and that the audio didn’t support the claim about what Gorsuch said.

After listening to it several times myself, I agreed with Kessler (which regular readers know I don’t always do). Clymer then disagreed with me as she did with several other people who heard it the same way.

Today, the court released an updated transcript of what Justice Gorsuch said. Their revised version reads, “The flu kills, I believe, hundreds, thousands of people every year.” I pointed this out to Clymer just in case she missed it.

Anyway, this was obvious to most people who listened to it. Glad the court correct it.

Update: I should have know. This is where the attack on Gorsuch was coming from:

He did admit it was unclear a day later.