After Missouri data system error, some say they don’t pay attention to COVID-19 numbers anymore

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Missouri’s data system hit a snag over the weekend. It led to a major, but inacurate, spike in the number of reported COVID-19 cases.

The Department of Health and Senior Services says the system is down while it’s being tweaked.

The department says it inflated numbers accidentally by adding more than 5,000 cases for the state in 24 hours. At the end of September, the department put a new reporting system in place for data called Show Me Strong COVID-19.

While the department is working to get those numbers right, Dr. Rex Archer the director of the Kansas City Health Department says the pandemic hasn’t changes. He says the numbers are important, but they’re always higher than you think.

“We know that we’ve got somewhere between two to five maybe more times as many positive people of what we’re getting reported anyway — so a few hundred doesn’t matter when we’ve got thousands of people that haven’t been tested that are positive,” Dr. Archer said.

Some people say they don’t pay attention to the numbers anymore. They are too many cases to keep track of.

“Not really, part of it is because I can’t trust the media. I know the numbers are going to be inflated,” Ang Ranstrom said.

“I don’t. I mean, it’s something we have to — it’s going to be here so we have to keep moving, moving, moving,” Vickie Burdette said.

Archer said to some people the numbers don’t matter, and many have already made up their mind.

“Anytime you can look for an opening or a reason to distrust something you’re jumping on that. I think that’s even worse. People have already made up their mind if this is a serious disease or not no matter how many people have died,” Archer said.

He says going into the fall and winter months the numbers could rise, so it’s important to focus on getting them down. Archer said he’s seeing numbers stay steady instead of drop.

“The folks that aren’t wearing their masks every place they are the ones that could cause us to shut down or do something more severe,” Archer said.

“I respect other people who want to wear their mask. When I’m with my friends and family I’m not going to wear my mask. When I’m at school I’m going to respect those guidelines, but I have some other opinions on that,” Ranstrom said.

“Practice those safe habits. Washing your hands. Stay six feet apart. Don’t share anything you eat or drink,” Burdette said.

Archer said be careful where you are spending your time. Eating out inside restaurants, going to bars and nightclubs could become hotspots.

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