The New York Times issued a correction on Friday after a reporter said 900,000 children have been hospitalized in the US with Covid-19 when the true figure is a tiny fraction of that: 63,000.
‘The article misstated the number of Covid hospitalizations in US children. It is more than 63,000 from August 2020 to October 2021, not 900,000 since the beginning of the pandemic,’ the correction read.
But this wasn’t the only error in the article, titled A New Vaccine Strategy For children: Just One Dose, For Now. The piece also ‘described incorrectly the actions taken by regulators in Sweden and Denmark’.
‘In addition, the article misstated the timing of an FDA meeting on authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children. It is later this month, not next week,’ the liberal paper added.
New York Times science reporter Apoorva Mandavilli (pictured) missed the actual figure of children hospitalized for Covid in the US by 837,000 – a landslide difference – in an article she wrote on Wednesday
The mistakes in the piece, titled A New Vaccine Strategy For children: Just One Dose, For Now, sparked outrage on Twitter
The incorrect number of children hospitalized for Covid-19 in the US was far from the article’s only error. The piece also incorrectly described actions taken by Sweden and Denmark and botched the timing of an important FDA meeting
Twitter users weren’t too happy by the shoddy reporting, which missed the actual figure of children hospitalized for Covid in the US by 837,000.
A fellow writer responded to the correction and said: ‘I see this NYT reporter is meeting her usual standards today.’
‘Mandavilli somehow inflated the number of US children hospitalized with the virus to 14 times the actual level,’ another user tweeted.
Others suggested Mandavilli – the 2019 winner of the Victor Cohn Prize for Excellence in Medical Science Reporting – completely makes up figures, saying she ‘provides her own unique version of “focusing on science.”‘
‘You have been called to report to the Hall of Shame. Fauci’s waiting for you,’ a Twitter user joked while another more hostile reply asked why Mandavilli is still employed.
‘She blatantly lied and not just a little but by a huge margin. Covid fear spreading sensationalist. She should be out!! Where’s cancel Culture when you really need it?’ the tweet read.
Mandavilli describes herself on the app as a Times reporter who mainly covers the Covid-19 pandemic.
She sparked widespread outrage earlier this year when she tweeted: ‘Someday we will stop talking about the lab leak theory and maybe even admit its racist roots. But alas, that day is not yet here.’
She deleted the tweet about an hour later and admitted that it was ‘badly phrased’ – and that her own colleagues are investigating the theory.
Twitter users weren’t too happy with the mishap and slammed Mandavilli, saying she ‘met her usual standards’ and ‘provided her own unique version of “focusing on science”‘
Among the critics who slammed Mandavilli’s perceived flip-flop was Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who responded in his own tweet on Thursday: ‘She just isn’t willing to investigate or report on anything that might hurt her tender feelings.’
The Twitter face-off came after months of mainstream media outlets – including the Times – dismissing the idea that Covid-19 could have been developed in a lab. They have since been forced to acknowledge the possibility amid mounting supportive evidence.
In his tweet attacking Mandavilli, Cruz called out the irony that she bills herself as an ‘investigative reporter’.
Glenn Greenwald, co-founder of The Intercept, also took aim at Mandavilli.
‘The NYT’s Covid reporter is saying we should stop talking about the lab leak theory — even if it’s how Covid entered humans — because that theory (unlike, I guess, the wet market theory) is racist,’ he wrote.
Mandavilli’s flip-flop on the issue reflected that of the larger mainstream media, which originally dismissed the idea that the virus originated in a lab studying bats but are now publishing articles suggesting that the theory may be plausible.
She controversially tweeted earlier this year that a theory about where Covid-19 started has ‘racist roots’. She deleted the tweet about an hour later and admitted that it was ‘badly phrased’. Her flip-flop reflected that of the larger mainstream media, which originally dismissed the idea that the virus originated in a lab studying bats but are now publishing articles suggesting that the theory may be plausible
Texas Senator Ted Cruz (pictured) criticized New York Times science reporter for dismissing the Wuhan lab leak theory as ‘racist’ on Twitter
Cruz took to Twitter to criticize Mandavilli for the tweet, saying she ‘isn’t willing to investigate or report on anything that might hurt her tender feelings’
The Huanan wet market, where the first cluster of infections began, is just a few hundred yards from the Wuhan Centers for Disease Prevention and Control and only a few miles from the the Wuhan Institute of Virology Lab, where scientists were reportedly conducting experiments on bats before the pandemic began.
The lab is one of only a handful in the world that is cleared to handle Class 4 pathogens — dangerous viruses that pose a high risk of person-to-person transmission.
Three researchers from the institute sought medical care in November 2019, before the virus began to spread, according to a recent report from the Wall Street Journal.
The newspaper said the report – which provides fresh details on the number of researchers affected, the timing of their illnesses and their hospital visits – may add weight to calls for a broader probe of whether the Covid-19 virus could have escaped from the laboratory.
But many reporters originally dismissed the idea and relied on a World Health Organization (WHO) study in the early days of the pandemic that said it was ‘extremely unlikely’ the virus escaped from a lab.
The report was written in part by Chinese scientists and was repeatedly delayed as China refused to give the WHO team raw data on the outbreak.
Eventually, the WHO concluded in the report that the virus could have been imported on frozen meat.