News Journal spreading false information on coronavirus at daycares

I have repeatedly questioned the Department of Health and Social Services and the Governor’s office recording their ongoing promulgation of erroneous data and misrepresentations in their recommendations to childcare providers. Although I have made available well sourced studies that challenge the validity of their persistent pronouncements that daycares are “controlled environments” that are able to limit infectious contacts and behaviors, the Governor’s office and now the News Journal have doubled and tripled down on the falsities that they continue to spread. These misrepresentations of the truth not only misinform the public but present a viable threat to the health and welfare of all Delawareans.

The insistence of this administration to legitimize a disingenuous distortion of the facts is being aided and abetted by the willingness of the News Journal to repeat these misrepresentations in their paper while failing to show any interest in investigating the facts or truths. I have written a letter to the editor and the reporter who published their recent article and have not received any answer or confirmation that the matter will be appropriately looked into or corrected. The News Journal is putting lives at risk by spreading false information.

Following is my letter to the newspaper’s editors, who have chosen not to respond as of this moment:

I believe that including unproven, false and misleading information promulgated by the Governor and DHSS in your newspaper articles is a dangerous error to make in these threatening times. Your article “Why some Delaware child care centers are defying governor by closing” includes references by Governor Carney to unsubstantiated, unproven, and unsourced conjecture regarding childcare facilities and the children in their care.

“Childcare facilities are ‘controlled environments,’ Carney said in a news release offering guidance to those who provide care. While children can transmit COVID-19, they are not at risk themselves for serious illness, the state said… But despite recommendations to keep doors open from both the state Division of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, many childcare centers have still decided to close for the safety of their staff and students.”

Both of these statements by the Governor’s office are untruths, and I have pointed this out repeatedly to your paper, to Governor Carney and to Secretary Walker of DHSS. I have listed sourced documentation and still see absolutely no effort to rescind or correct these false, misleading statements. This amounts to irresponsible journalism and could very well result in massive amounts of contagion spreading.

I went to the CDC website provided. NOWHERE on the website did the CDC separate recommendations for schools and childcare facilities. All recommendations were the same (see “COVID-19 Guidance for Schools and Childcare Programs“). Further, while schools can actually put some of the recommendations for preventive measures in place, childcare facilities absolutely cannot. It does not make any recommendations for childcare centers to stay open. There are no statements or references to “controlled environments” either. Rather, research suggests that the “rates of infection in children are just as common as in adults” (see source).

Your paper should immediately correct its mistake.

Representative John Kowalko

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