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Dr. Birx Warns About Frightening and Misleading Coronavirus Projections

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

During the coronavirus task force briefing on Wednesday, Dr. Deborah Birx reiterated why the media's apocalyptic projections about the Wuhan coronavirus are not only frightening but also misleading.


Dr. Birx pointed out that America is a very vast country and the Wuhan coronavirus, like any epidemic, is not equal everywhere. The focus, the doctor explained, should be on resources and getting them to places where they are needed most. 

"There are places that are very spared and there are places where there's more ...," Dr. Brix said, "and so looking very specifically at where the virus has been, where is it going, who's got freed-up resources from where it has been because ... it hit Washington State earlier than it hit New York, and looking at all of those pieces to really ensure how we can innovatively move equipment around based on the need." 

With some projections showing that 50 or 60 percent of the population could become infected with the virus, Dr. Birx explained why such projections are so misleading. 

"The only way that happens," Dr. Brix explained, "is if this virus remains continuously moving through populations in this cycle, in the fall cycle, and another cycle, so that's through three cycles with nothing being done." 

Dr. Brix said the coronavirus task force's focus is on getting through the current cycle while innovations, like treatments and vaccines, will help prepare for future cycles should COVID-19 resurface in the fall or in 2021. 

"We're really dealing with the here and now while we're planning for the future and I think the numbers that have been put out there are actually very frightening to people," Dr. Birx said. "But I can tell you if you go back and look at Wuhan and Hubei and all of these provinces when they talk about 60,000 people being infected, even if you said, 'Oh right, there's asymptomatics and all of that,' so you get to 600,000 people out of 80 million. That is nowhere close to the numbers you see people putting out there. I think it's frightened the American people." 


So while Dr. Birx said it's possible to get to those dire numbers if you run the projections out far enough and have people doing nothing to stop the spread of the virus, "we know every American is doing something," she concluded. 

But the media is more interested in promoting panic than explaining the numbers. 

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