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Tipsheet

Ted Lieu Gets Owned for Once More Going After Twitter Files

Greg Nash/Pool via AP

The latest edition of Twitter Files, from Monday, highlighted how the government, shamefully but not surprisingly, censored debate on COVID-19. Just as he has done in the past, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) took great issue with the fact that Elon Musk wanted people to be more aware of the chilling truth about what the company he has now taken over has been engaging in. This time, however, Lieu actually seems to have had enough of a reaction to be calling out, since he deleted his tweet in question, albeit quietly, as our friends at Twitchy picked up on. 

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The since-deleted tweet called out author and independent journalist David Zweig who was tasked with releasing the latest batch. In addition to stating the risk of COVID and touting the benefits of vaccines while dismissing natural immunity, the congressman claimed that "COVID appears to be a leading cause of death for children."

Such is quite the lofty claim, as statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) show that COVID deaths are mostly among the elderly. Children are also less likely to get more serious cases of CDC, according to the experts, including Mayo Clinic

More pressingly, though, Lieu was using a pre-print from the United Kingdom presented on June 17 that was seriously flawed, with an updated version printed on June 28, as explained in a fact-check post for covid-georgia.com by Kelley K. 

The updated version, however, still has problems, as the fact-check explains, with one major problem being the cause of death. Emphasis is original:

The first major issue I noticed was that they downloaded Covid numbers from NCHS. This source includes deaths where Covid is listed anywhere on the death certificate, not just the underlying cause of death. Death certificates include a single underlying cause of death, along with potentially several contributing causes of death. The NCHS data includes both, which overcounts Covid deaths because it includes death that had a different underlying cause.

The pre-print states “we only consider Covid-19 as an underlying (and not contributing) cause of death” but this is false. It also states “In children and young people (CYP) aged 0-19 years, data from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) indicate there were 1,433 deaths for which Covid-19 was the underlying cause of death (March 1, 2020-April 30, 2022).” However, this includes deaths where Covid was NOT, in fact, the underlying cause of death. According to CDC WONDER, underlying deaths from Covid for this age group and time period actually totaled 1,088 deaths. 

This is a major problem, because the pre-print adds Covid to a ranking of the top underlying causes of death from 2019 from CDC WONDER. The WONDER data they used is specifically Underlying Cause of Death data. This significantly overcounts Covid deaths compared to the other causes of death listed.

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The post also gets into other causes of death for children:

Even given the corrected rankings above, there are also issues with the entire concept of showing the impact of Covid deaths in children using rankings. Rankings overstate the impact of Covid, because the top few causes of death far outweigh the causes further down the list. For example, in ages 1-4, accidents account for almost 25 times as many deaths as Covid-19 on an annualized basis. Furthermore, for each of the 4 age groups covered by the CDC slide, the very broad “accidents” is the leading cause of death. If we break that down further, causes of death like drownings, vehicle crashes, drug overdoses, would be individual causes of death greater than Covid in various age groups. Actuary Mary Pat Campbell explains this well in a couple of blog posts on pediatric Covid deaths:

The study authors incorrectly posit that the way the cause of death rankings are grouped, the ranking for Covid is “conservative” since it is a single cause rather than a group of causes (like accidents). However, this makes no sense when you consider that some of the subgroups under accidental deaths would alone be greater than Covid.

As Zweig pointed out later on in his batch of the Twitter Files, Kelley K's account was among those considered problematic despite sharing accurate information in the post mentioned above to counter actual misinformation. 

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Musk got involved to tweet that "Ted [Lieu] is linking to misleading data."

As he did when being called out for going after Matt Taibbi for his supplements to the Twitter Files, the congressman replied to many users calling him out. Tellingly, an oft-repeated response was for people to talk to their doctor about the vaccines, a point he likely should have stuck to in the first place.

And, while the congressman may have deleted one specific tweet, he has continued to call out and mock Twitter Files.

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Further, more is expected to come next week as it applies to the Twitter Files and COVID-19. Time will tell as to if Lieu has learned his lesson, though his track record suggests it may not be likely. 

"Ted Lieu" was trending on Twitter as a result of the congressman's tweet.

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