Attorney General Todd Rokita reveals faulty COVID-19 data in shocking report

INDIANA – On the fourth anniversary of Indiana’s stay-at-home orders, Attorney General Todd Rokita unveiled the results of a report he commissioned to expose the numbers associated with the coronavirus lockdowns. 

Todd Rokita

“The truth is our government produced and relied on severely flawed data, including inflated death counts and unsound positivity rates, to shape the state’s failed response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Attorney General Rokita said. “This faulty data led to months of lockdowns, mask mandates and devastated our economy. Hoosiers shouldn’t have to choose between their lives and their livelihoods.” 

The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) prepared this report to inform Hoosiers, elected officials, and public health agencies of deficiencies identified in COVID-19 data. 

OAG’s analysis focused on two statistics that were widely reported. It relied on by public health officials during the pandemic: the number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 and the positivity rate (the total number of positive COVID-19 tests divided by the total number of COVID-19 tests administered). As evidenced in the report, inflated death counts and unsound positivity rates informed public policy decisions, like detrimental lockdowns, which harmed Hoosiers’ mental and physical well-being and our children’s education. 

Vastly inflated death counts:

  • COVID-19 was listed as a “cause of death” for numerous deaths caused by gunshot wounds, fires, car accidents, blunt force trauma, drowning, and drug overdoses.
  • Indiana’s Management Performance Hub (MPH) overreported COVID-19 deaths by 10.9 percent in 2020, 7 percent in 2021, and 12.5 percent in 2022.
  • County-level COVID-19 death counts reported by local health departments had more significant variability than data reported by MPH, with larger counties underreporting and smaller counties overreporting.

Unsound positivity rates

  • IDOH calculated each county’s positivity rate by dividing the total number of positive tests by the total number of tests provided. Therefore, if a person tested five days in a row and each test was positive, that person contributed five positive cases to the positivity rate data.
  • Those tested for COVID-19 had a higher probability of testing positive – individuals who were symptomatic and referred for testing by a physician and those required to be tested by their employer because they may be at a higher risk of exposure.
  • IDOH funded the country’s first statewide prevalence survey, testing 3,658 randomly selected individuals. The study determined Indiana’s positivity rate was roughly ten times lower than the rate calculated and reported by the state. IDOH discontinued the study after only three rounds of testing and continued to use biased positivity rate data as a metric to impose county-level COVID-19 restrictions. 

“Our report doesn’t just point out the flaws,” Attorney General Rokita said. “It also makes recommendations to address these issues in the future. To ensure Hoosiers’ liberties are protected, Indiana must review the state’s framework for addressing any future emergency and adopt professionally accepted criteria for its reported data.” 

Findings from this analysis strongly indicate that policymakers should establish a process that requires pandemic-related decisions to be based solely on high-quality research and sound data rather than anecdotal findings and faulty information. Further, they should keep Indiana’s economy and educational institutions open for business during future public health challenges. 

Read the full report here.