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Kansas Policy Institute article says KDHE secretary presented misleading COVID-19 graphs

Published: Aug. 8, 2020 at 11:25 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A Kansas Policy Institute article is accusing KDHE Secretary Dr. Lee Norman of using misleading data at a news conference this week.

The article, written by Policy Institute Chief Executive Dave Trabert says on August 5th, Norman was showing data he said indicated Kansas counties mandating mask wearing were outperforming counties without them.

Trabert’s article says the way the data chart was laid out made it look like counties with a mask mandate actually had fewer daily cases during the period in question.

Strictly going off the numbers on the sides of the graph - while masked counties did show a decrease - numbers did not dip significantly below non-masked counties.

Michael Austin, the director of the Sandlian Center for Entrepreneurial Government at the Kansas Policy Institute says the data itself is not in question, but he takes issue with the way it was presented.

“It has nothing to do about whether masks are effective or not. What it has to do is making sure Kansans can make sound conclusions from accurate information,” he said.

“And unfortunately, the chart that was shown prior in the week strongly suggested that counties that had followed Dr. Norman’s mask order outperformed counties that did not and that was most certainly not true.”

13 NEWS reached out to the Governor’s Office and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment for comment, but has not heard back.

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