Ex-NYT reporter Berenson skeptical about COVID spike: Positive test numbers alone 'not clinically meaningful'

Former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson told "The Story" Friday that while he wasn't sure if the increased number of coronavirus cases in some parts of the country amount to a so-called "second wave" of the pandemic, the mainstream media's coverage shows that it "just wants panic."

"We keep talking about cases, cases, cases, cases, cases. In this case, the media is using that to refer to positive test results," Berenson told host Martha MacCallum. "It's not clinically meaningful. What's clinically meaningful is that people wind up in the hospital, if people wind up certainly on ventilators or ICU's, those are dangerous things.

"The thing that we know about COVID-19 ... is that your risk of getting really sick from it is incredibly dependent on your age," Berenson added. "So if we've a thousand cases in nursing homes, it's very, very different than a thousand cases at a Whirlpool plant where people are much younger, much less at a college.


"We don't know where these reports [of new cases] are coming in from," Berenson added. "They're not really being age-stratified, and what we do know is that deaths occur. Now, all we know is that deaths are a lagging indicator, but deaths have fallen by two-thirds to 75 percent in the last six weeks."

On Friday, Republican Gov. Gary Herbert of Utah and Democratic Gov. Kate Brown of Oregon announced that they would halt lifting further restrictions for the time being due to the rise in new coronavirus cases in their states. Other states, such as Texas, Arkansas and Arizona, have seen their case numbers rise, but so far have pressed forward with reopening.

Berenson, whose booklet “Unreported Truths about COVID-19 and Lockdowns: Part 1,” has become a best seller Amazon’s Kindle Store, told MacCallum that we still have no way of knowing whether stay-at-home orders imposed by state governors worked to stop the spread of the virus.


"Georgia [was] the first state to really end its lockdown. That was the end of April," he recalled. "There were all these people on the left saying, you know, 'Georgia is going to be a factory of death.' 'Georgia, you know, it's gonna be terrible in Georgia.' Guess what? Hospitalizations in Georgia are half what they were six weeks ago."

"I'm not saying there's nothing to be concerned about. I'm not saying there's nothing to watch," Berenson continued. "We need to follow the data, just as we always have. But the media, the media just wants panic."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.