Dr. Birx Pops Media's Coronavirus Panic Balloon

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Posted: Mar 26, 2020 7:35 PM
Dr. Birx Pops Media's Coronavirus Panic Balloon

Source: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

During the coronavirus taskforce briefing on Thursday, Dr. Deborah Birx rebuked much of the media's panic reporting about the number of estimated deaths related to the coronavirus and the state of America's medical supplies. 

Despite clamorous reports about a shortage of medical supplies in New York, Dr. Birx said her colleagues in the state have reassured her that ICU beds are still readily available and more than a thousand ventilators remain unused. Dr. Birx then took the press to task for their hysterical reporting.  

"Please, for the reassurance of people around the world," Dr. Birx begged the press corps, "to wake up this morning and look at people talking about creating DNR situations, do not resuscitate situations for patients, there is no situation in the United States right now that warrants that kind of discussion."

Dr. Birx said the coronavirus cases are currently concentrated in urban areas and the focus should be on getting medical resources into those areas from nearby parts of the state that are unaffected by the virus or from other places in the United States. Nearly 40 percent of the country, 19 out of 50 states, have reported early cases of the Wuhan coronavirus but, despite continued testing, are maintaining extraordinarily low numbers of infections, according to Dr. Birx. About 86 percent of people presenting with "significant symptoms" continue to test negative for the virus. 

On Thursday, the U.K. readjusted a report that initially claimed some 500,000 people would die from the coronavirus in the U.K. and some 2.2 million would perish in the United States. The number for the U.K. was adjusted down to 20,000 deaths, a mere 4 percent of the original estimate, to account for the public health interventions that have since been put in place. U.S. officials are looking into the adjustment in greater detail to understand the reasons for the sharp decline, Dr. Birx announced at the briefing. 

The doctor said data on the ground in China, South Korea, and Italy does not match the prediction of the models used to forecast the coronavirus. Dr. Birx said either a large number of asymptomatic people exist in order to account for the discrepancy or the experts have the transmission data completely wrong. 

"Models are models," Dr. Birx cautioned. 

Dr. Birx has repeatedly tried to educate the press about the dire projections often touted in the media's apocalyptic reporting. Projections that 50 or 60 percent of all Americans could become infected with the coronavirus often fail to disclose that such estimates assume that no preventative measures will be taken (they already have) and those estimates include three cycles of outbreaks. Dr. Birx is focused on the current cycle, not the one this Fall or the one in 2021 when vaccines and treatments currently being tested and developed will hopefully be readily available.