WATCH: Dr. Birx Says Media has “frightened the American people” with unlikely virus projections

During the White House coronavirus task force meeting Wednesday, Dr. Deborah Birx suggested the media has “frightened the American people” with unlikely projections of the possible coronavirus death toll.

Dr. Deborah Birx:

We have done some things that are horizontal across the country but we are collecting data now in a county by county granular way. So, it’s like any epidemic, it’s not equal everywhere.

There are places that are very spared and places where there is more. We have a very vast country with a lot of capacity and a lot of infrastructure.

Looking specifically about where the virus has been, where is it going, who has freed up resources from where it has been because it didn’t hit Washington State before it hit New York, and looking at those pieces to ensure how we can innovately move equipment around based on the need. And so I know that it has become a place where people are looking numbers rather than what is needed.

If you do these projections, when you got to those projections that said like in Germany and others that implied that 60% or 50% of the population would get infected, I want to be very clear, the only way that happens, is that this virus remains continuously moving through populations in this cycle, in the fall cycle and another cycle. That’s through three cycles with nothing being done.

We are dealing with cycle ‘A’ right now, not one that could come in the Fall of 2020 and that we’re getting prepared for by the innovations that are being worked on, and not 2021 [cycle]. We’re really dealing with the here and now while we are planning for the future. And I think the numbers that have been put out there are actually very frightening to people.

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, alright well 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 that you see people putting out there. I think it has frightened the American people.

I think on a model you just run full out, you can get to those numbers if you have 0 controls and you do nothing and we know that every American is doing something and so I think what our job right now is, is to carefully detail on a hospital by hospital, state by state, county by county to outline what the infrastructure needs are and ensure that we are meeting them, both from the stockpile and from the generosity and movement of the American people.


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