The Washington Post fact-checked Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor after she claimed during oral arguments about the Biden administration's vaccine mandate on private businesses that more than 100,000 children are "in serious condition" and that many are on ventilators because of the coronavirus.
The liberal newspaper on Saturday gave the justice "four Pinocchios," the most given for a false statement, after she offered an "absurdly high" number during her comments the day prior. It further pointed out that "it's important for Supreme Court justices to make rulings based on correct data."
Sotomayor gave a figure massively inflating the number of children who have come down with severe cases of COVID when she said that the U.S. has hospitals that are "almost at full capacity with people severely ill on ventilators. We have over 100,000 children, which we've never had before, in serious condition, many on ventilators."
The Post called the Obama-appointed justice's remarks "wildly incorrect, assuming she is referring to hospitalizations, given the reference to ventilators."
The newspaper cited data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services showing that there were only about 5,000 children hospitalized in a pediatric bed because of a suspected or confirmed COVID case as of Jan. 8 and pointed out that this 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,'" the paper explained.
And pointing to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The Post noted that, since Aug. 1, 2020, there have been exactly 82,843 hospital admissions of children confirmed to have the virus. The paper, still referencing CDC data, also said the U.S. is seeing more COVID hospitalizations now than at any other time since the pandemic began.
So while the paper slammed Sotomayor for her "false" numbers of children hospitalizations, it did acknowledge that the justice "is not wrong to suggest the rate of pediatric admissions is cause for concern."
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky disputed Sotomayor's claims as well, telling host Bret Baier during a "Fox News Sunday" appearance that the number of children hospitalized due to COVID is roughly 3,500.
Walensky also suggested during her interview on Sunday that another one of Sotomayor's claims made during oral arguments was incorrect. The justice had falsely stated that omicron was just as deadly as the delta variant.
Asked if Sotomayor's claim about the severity of omicron was inaccurate, Walensky responded by saying that the variant "may not be" as lethal as delta based on data from other countries.
As is the case with other COVID strains, omicron is less dangerous to young people than it is to older individuals.
Each of Sotomayor's claims came as the Supreme Court was hearing arguments over whether the Biden administration can mandate that employers with 100 or more employees require their workers get the COVID vaccine or undergo regular testing and on vaccine mandates for health care workers at facilities receiving Medicaid and Medicare funding.