Dr. Birx Gives Media a Reality Check on That Doomsday Model, Worst Case Scenarios

Listen to the Article!

In comments that drew an onslaught of lefties hurling sexist venom, Dr. Deborah Birx used Thursday’s daily briefing to implore the liberal media to stop with their breathless and seemingly eager use of worst case scenarios, such as astronomical claims about how over two million Americans will die from the coronavirus and asserting that we’re already at a point where hospitals must decide who lives versus who’s left to die.

Birx began her calm, measured takedown of the liberal media-driven hysteria (based on the truly dire and disturbing situation in New York, so where many journalists live) by acknowledging the now-infamous Imperial College model that suggested half a million will die in the U.K. and over two million in the United States.

 

 

In other words, the number used to almost gleefully bludgeon the Trump administration and instill as much fear as possible in Americans.

Birx noted that the report came out with a revision for the U.K.’s death toll from 500,000 to 20,000. She then talked about factors that go into these infection models (symptomatic and asymptomatic people) before noting that that almost apocalyptic forecast just “[doesn’t] match the reality on the ground in either China, South Korea or Italy.”

The White House Coroanvirus Task Force coordinator then implored journalists to consider what Italy’s death toll should be if the model’s percentages of dead versus the population were correct and how foisting such predictions are unhelpful:

We are about five times the size of Italy. If we were Italy and you did all those divisions, Italy should have close to 400,000 deaths. They're not close to achieving that. So, these are the kinds ever things we are trying to understand. Models are models. We’re adapting to the realit --- there is enough data now of the real experience with the coronavirus on the ground to make predictions much more sound. So, when people start talking about 20 percent of a population getting infected, it's very scary, but we don't have data that matches that based on the experience.

Speaking of unhelpful, Birx went next to a narrative pushed by some journalists and medical experts about New York hospitals having to decide who gets a ventilator and then who dies versus lives.

Though liberals have insisted that she was some psychotic maniac for even suggesting that someone with coronavirus could still get an ICU bed and ventilator (if needed) and wouldn’t just be left to die, here was what Birx had to say (click “expand”):

We were reassured and meeting with our colleagues in New York that there are still ICU beds remaining and there’s still significant, over 1,000 or 2,000 ventilators that have not been utilized yet. Please, for the reassurance of people around the world, to wake up this morning and look at people talking about citing DNR situations, do not resuscitate situations for patients, there is no situation in the United States right now that warrants that kind of discussion. You can be thinking about it in a hospital, certainly many hospitals talk about this on a daily basis but to say that to the American people, to make the implication that when they need a hospital bed, it's not going be there or when they need that ventilator, it's not going be there. We don't have any evidence of that right now.

And it's our job, collectively to assure the American people that --- it's our collective job to make sure that doesn't happen. Right now, you can see these state --- these cases are concentrated in highly urban areas. There are other parts of the states that have lots of ventilators and other parts of New York state that don't have any infections now. So, we can be creative. We can meet the need by being responsive[.]

Before taking media questions, Birx circled back to models to conclude that there's no current evidence to support the doomsday theory “60 to 70 percent of Americans are going to get infected in the next 8 to 12 weeks” and especially because we as a country are learning daily from others like Italy, South Korea, and Spain and thus allow America to adapt.

To see the relevant transcript from March 26’s press briefing, click “expand.”

White House Coronavirus Task Force Briefing
March 26, 2020
6:18 p.m. Eastern

DR. DEBORAH BIRX: DR. DEBORAH BIRX: Of the 550,000 tests, you can do the math but we're still running somewhere about 14 percent overall. That means 86 percent of the people with significant symptoms because remember, you had to have a fever and symptoms to get tested at this point. So still 86% are negative. These are really important facts for the American people. I’m sure many of you saw the recent report out of the U.K. about them adjusting completely their needs. This is really quite important. Remember, this was the report that said there would be 500,000 deaths in the U.K. and 2.2 million deaths in the United States. They’ve adjusted that number in the U.K. to 20,000. So, half a million to 20,000. We're looking into this in great detail to understand that adjustment. I'm going to say something that's a little bit complicated but I'm going to try to do it in a way we can all understand it together. In the model, either you have to have a large group of people who are asymptomatic who never presented for any test in order to have the kind of numbers that were predicted. To get to 60 million people infected or of six million people infected, you have to have a large group of asymptomatics because in no country to date have seen an attack rate of over 1 in 1,000. So either we’re only measuring the tip of the iceberg of the symptomatic cases underneath it are a large group of people. So, we’re working hard to get the antibody test because that’s a good way to figure out who are all these people under here and do they exist. Or we have the transmission completely wrong. So, these are the things we're looking at because the predictions of the model don't match the reality on the ground in either China, South Korea or Italy. We are about five times the size of Italy. If we were Italy and you did all those divisions, Italy should have close to 400,000 deaths. They're not close to achieving that. So, these are the kinds ever things we are trying to understand. Models are models. We’re adapting to the realit --- there is enough data now of the real experience with the coronavirus on the ground to make predictions much more sound. So, when people start talking about 20 percent of a population getting infected, it's very scary, but we don't have data that matches that based on the experience.

And then finally the situation about ventilators. We were reassured and meeting with our colleagues in New York that there are still ICU beds remaining and there’s still significant, over 1,000 or 2,000 ventilators that have not been utilized yet. Please, for the reassurance of people around the world, to wake up this morning and look at people talking about citing DNR situations, do not resuscitate situations for patients, there is no situation in the United States right now that warrants that kind of discussion. You can be thinking about it in a hospital, certainly many hospitals talk about this on a daily basis but to say that to the American people, to make the implication that when they need a hospital bed, it's not going be there or when they need that ventilator, it's not going be there. We don't have any evidence of that right now. And it's our job, collectively to assure the American people that --- it's our collective job to make sure that doesn't happen. Right now, you can see these state --- these cases are concentrated in highly urban areas. There are other parts of the states that have lots of ventilators and other parts of New York state that don't have any infections now. So, we can be creative. We can meet the need by being responsive, but there's no model right now, I mean, no reality on the ground where we can see that 60 to 70 percent of Americans are going to get infected in the next 8 to 12 weeks. I want to be clear about that. So, we’re adapting to the reality on the ground. We’re looking at models of how they can inform but we also are learning very clear from South Korea and from Italy and from Spain. Just a final --- cause I know many of you will look up my numbers. The only people who are over really 1 in 1,000 cases are people that have very small populations like Monaco and Liechtenstein. So you will see a different number coming from where your population is really tine. One case can put you over 1 to 1,000 or 2,000.

NB Daily Health Care Coronavirus White House Press Briefing
Curtis Houck's picture


Sponsored Links