The New York Times Misleads the Public by Linking Churches to Coronavirus Cases

The New York Times stepped up its coronavirus disinformation campaign last week by falsely claiming that churches are now a “major source” of the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The Times ran an article on July 8 with the headline: “Churches Were Eager to Reopen. Now They Are a Major Source of Coronavirus Cases.”

Perhaps realizing the American people were on to them, The Times has since changed the headline to a more innocuous and anodyne one: “Churches Were Eager to Reopen. Now They Are Confronting Coronavirus Cases.” No editorial note was provided in the article stating that the headline was changed.

At the bottom of the piece, The Times notes that the article which appeared in the print edition had an even more inflammatory headline: “Churches Open Doors, And the Virus Sweeps In.”

What do the authors of the piece count as a “major source?” As stated in the lead, “The virus has infiltrated Sunday services, church meetings, and youth camps. More than 650 cases have been linked to religious facilities during the pandemic.”

The Times claims that 650 cases are a “major source” of COVID-19 spread.

According to the latest figures available, there have been at least 3,236,130 total coronavirus cases in the United States as of July 12, 2020. Many antibody studies have recently found that the total number of people who have actually contracted COVID-19 is likely much higher than the official tally suggests.

And yet, 650 cases out of 3,236,130 pans out to be 00.02% of the total which The Times can link back to churches.

For any normal American, it’s clear as daylight that 00.02% of COVID-19 cases is not remotely close to being a “major source” of spread.

But somehow, this story was featured both in the online and in-print edition of The Times, involved the work of three authors including Kate Conger, Jack Healy, and Lucy Thompkins, and was apparently worth the time it took to write the 1,736 words that the long article includes.

The Times also notes two other reporters who contributed to the piece and 14 people who provided research for the article.

Apparently, it takes a lot of people to make a national news story out of one big nothing burger.

In the article, the authors quote Carlos del Rio, an infectious-disease expert at Emory University, lamenting how churches may spread coronavirus. “It’s an ideal setting for transmission. You have a lot of people in a closed space. And they’re speaking loudly, they’re singing. All those things are exactly what you don’t want,” he claimed.

And yet, over the past month, we have seen tens of thousands of people gather to protest while speaking loudly, shouting and chanting. Why is that not a problem?

Intriguingly, The Times recently interviewed another expert, Dr. Catherine Troisi, who is an infectious-disease epidemiologist at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. She said that although she condemned the anti-lockdown protests, she has recently taken part in protests supporting Black Lives Matter.

“I certainly condemned the anti-lockdown protests at the time, and I’m not condemning the protests now, and I struggle with that. I have a hard time articulating why that is OK.”

For The New York Times, let’s hope most Americans see through the propaganda and realize that calling 00.02% of COVID-19 cases a “major source” of spread is nothing of the sort.

Related Articles:

Founder of 1619 Project Wins Pulitzer Prize. Here’s Why Pulitzers are Pointless.

You can follow this author on Twitter @MettlerZachary

Photo from Stuart Monk /


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