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Left-leaning fact-checker nails Justice Sotomayor over wildly false claim about children, COVID-19

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PolitiFact, a left-leaning fact-checker, swiftly corrected Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor over a wildly false claim she made on Friday.

What did Sotomayor say?

While hearing oral arguments for and against President Joe Biden's employer vaccine mandate, Sotomayor claimed that 100,000 children in the United States are hospitalized and in "serious condition" with COVID-19.

"We have hospitals that are almost at full capacity with people severely ill on ventilators. We have over 100,000 children, which we’ve never had before, in serious condition, and many on ventilators,” Sotomayor claimed.

What did the fact check say?

PolitiFact used government data to explain why Sotomayor's claims are wildly false.

"While the number of coronavirus-positive pediatric hospitalizations has risen with the spread of the omicron variant, Sotomayor’s number was way off," the fact-checker said.

"At the time she made this comment, federal data showed that fewer than 5,000 coronavirus-positive children were in the hospital. In fact, fewer than 83,000 children have been hospitalized for COVID-19 — cumulatively — since August 2020," the fact check continued. "There are over 100,000 cases among children, but scientists say that few of those are severe."

"We rate the statement False," PolitiFact declared.

Oddly, PolitiFact did not hit Sotomayor with its "Pants on Fire" rating despite the Supreme Court justice's claim not being even close to reality. PolitiFact's most recent "Pants on Fire" ratings have gone mostly to claims about the COVID-19 pandemic, a category that Sotomayor's false claims fit in, and statements against Democrats.

Anything else?

PolitiFact did not rule on other questionable statements that Sotomayor made on Friday.

For example, Sotomayor also claimed that "Omicron is as deadly as Delta." However, research suggests that Omicron is less virulent than previous COVID variants, and produces less damaging lung infections.

Dr. Anthony Fauci even said as much last week.

"Multiple sources of now-preliminary data indicate a decrease severity with Omicron," he added.

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