During Saturday evening's White House Coronavirus Task Force press briefing, Dr. Deborah Birx showed a chart comparing the number of Wuhan coronavirus deaths across the globe. At the bottom of the chart was China, with a reported 0.33 deaths per 100,000, something we know has to be a blatant lie.
"I put China on there so you could see how basically unrealistic this could be. When highly-developed health care systems of the United Kingdom and France and Belgium and Italy and Spain, with extraordinary doctors and nurses and equipment, have case fatality rates in the 20s up to 45 and Beligum [has an] extraordinarily confident health care delivery system, and then China at 0.33," Birx explained. "You realize these numbers – and this even includes the double numbers out of Wuhan – so I wanted to put in perspective but also see how great the care has been for every American that has been hospitalized."
After Dr. Birx finished with the slide, President Donald Trump pointed to the numbers and asked reporters in the room if anyone believed the numbers coming out of Iran and China.
"This is why the reporting is so important. And I think you remember almost six weeks ago, maybe a month ago, I was telling you what Italy was showing to us and what France was telling to us and the warnings that they gave to us. They said be very careful, there's an extraordinarily high mortality amongst people with preexisting conditions and we used their information to bring that to the American people," she explained. "That came, that alert before we even had significant cases, came from our European colleagues on the front lines."
According to the Coronavirus Response Coordinator, it's important for countries to be transparent about what they're dealing with, especially when a new virus or disease comes about because it gives countries an opportunity to alert residents. She said that information from Europe allowed the U.S. to make critical decisions and alert vulnerable populations on March 15th.
"That information came from our European colleagues who were in the midst of the battle themselves and so there is never an excuse not to share information. When you are the first country to have an outbreak, you really have a moral obligation to the world to not only talk about it but provide that information that is critical to the rest of the world to really respond to this credibly," Birx said.
The truth of the matter is China lied and people died. If China had been truthful from the get-go people in Italy and France might have had a fighting chance. There are two reasons we've had fewer cases and a smaller death count: 1) President Trump shut down flights to and from China early on and 2) our European counterparts were transparent and told our health experts what they've learned.
It's time for the world to hold China accountable, not just for creating this virus but for attempting to cover it up.
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