ADPH numbers aren't making sense

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Hi. It's me again. Yea, that guy.

A lot of work has gone into making MountainEagle.com offer even more in terms of content. I've pushed hard for the website to host as much useful, informative and entertaining content as possible while keeping the primary focus on local happenings. I firmly believe if our readers are going to pay for access to our website, then there should be as much content as we can offer. The team at the Daily Mountain Eagle is working tirelessly to ensure that both our print edition and website is worth both your time and money, even through this difficult time.

I quietly celebrated my first year with the Daily Mountain Eagle on April 1. During those 12 months, we pumped out as much video content as possible. We repurposed our conference room to serve as an in-house studio, introduced the revolutionary PrepZone platform, produced an hour-long Christmas special and so much more. Even old-school reporter Ed Howell has his own show, Talking Politics. So it pains me to know that we haven't released a single video since the March 7 Walker County Sheriff's Office vs Jasper Police Department basketball preview show (humorously titled CopZone).

Make no mistake, we are committed to continuing to grow our video production. If you haven't already, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Speaking of video, I'm probably going to call an audible with the high school senior videos. The original plan was to release a video for every school in our county. However, we have not had quite the response that we had hoped. So unless there is a last minute surge, the new plan will be to release a single video featuring every school. If you're a graduating senior or know one that hasn't sent a video in, send them to either jeffery.winborne@mountaineagle.com or newsletter@mountaineagle.com.

Speaking of the newsletter, please know it will be making a comeback. It was a temporary casualty of the current economic situation of the world.

These have been trying and frustrating times for everyone. I see every comment all of you post on Facebook when we share the COVID-19 updates, and trust me, I feel your frustration.

Every morning I wake up, head to the Alabama Department of Public Health COVID-19 dashboard. Some mornings it makes sense. Other mornings, well, I too am left shaking my head at numbers that don't make sense or add up. I've seen the total tested number drop by about 50,000. I've seen, as one Facebook user put it, someone seemingly come back to life. I've seen what is supposed to be a cumulative number of confirmed cases go up and down.

Unfortunately, it is our responsibility to report the numbers released by the ADPH. And those numbers don't always make sense. I personally have reached out to the department for an explanation. It was explained to me that there can be technical issues, maintenance issues, reporting issues and... well, there are a number of possible things going on. It was explained to me that it is “the cost of providing data in real-time.”

Another headache was how to present the number of deaths. At first, the ADPH separated what they called “Deaths” and “Reported Deaths.” In theory, they were investigating every death to make sure it was indeed caused by COVID-19. However, they later decided to just go ahead and combine everything. Well, I couldn't in good conscious continue labelling it as confirmed deaths. I tried “Related Deaths” only to later realize that without that explicit confirmation process, I didn't feel comfortable even saying the deaths were related to COVID-19.

Now I just label it as “deaths.”

I don't understand why the numbers fluctuate. I have my own opinions on it, but I will keep that to myself for the time being. I will keep asking to try and find out why some things are not adding up, but until then, all I can do is relay the information that they are releasing.

Jeffery Winborne is the New Media Coordinator for the Daily Mountain Eagle. He can be reached at jeffery.winborne@mountaineagle.com and on Twitter @JLWinborne.