Fact-checking COVID-19 Stats

A U.S. Senator mistakenly tweeted that 14% of UNC students have COVID-19. A local news station fact-checked that tweet, explained the math, and the Senator didn’t back down. Sigh…

The University of North Carolina made national news after reporting a coronavirus outbreak shortly after students returned to campus.

Before students could even get their first assignments, university administrators abandoned their plans to hold in-person classes. The football team, however, is still scheduled to move forward with a modified Atlantic Coast Conference schedule.

That upset U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut. The University of Connecticut was the first major football program to cancel its season due to the pandemic.

“Notre Dame and UNC are sending kids home because of COVID outbreaks (at UNC 14% of students tested positive),” Murphy tweeted on Aug. 18, adding: “But…not football players! They need to stay no matter the risk, because the college football money machine needs to keep churning.”

His tweet linked to a New York Times story about the situation at UNC.

Murphy was clearly trying to make a point about college athletes being exploited. While doing so, however, he failed to provide the full context of UNC’s outbreak.

Is it true that 14% of students tested positive, as Murphy said? Not exactly.

To read the rest of this story, please visit WRAL.