NBC Demands Pence Predict ‘Millions’ Will Be Infected

Listen to the Article!

During an interview with Mike Pence on Thursday, Today show co-host Savannah Guthrie repeatedly demanded that the Vice President predict that coronavirus would infect “millions” of Americans. Ironically, she also dismissed President Trump’s criticism of “media hype” regarding the disease.

“Just leveling with people, the President has said, as recently as two days ago, ‘This will go away.’ Yesterday, Dr. Anthony Fauci said you can expect millions and millions to get it, ‘The worst is yet to come,’” Guthrie insisted to Pence early in the contentious exchange. The NBC anchor then added: “Congress’s own doctor said that had a third of the American population could get coronavirus.”

 

 

Pressing Pence on the dire predictions, Guthrie asked: “Do you agree with that number? What do your experts tell you the number of infected Americans is likely to be? I’m looking for a number, if you have it.” Moments later, as the Vice President acknowledged that “we know there will be thousands more cases of coronavirus in this country,” she interjected: “Thousand or millions?”

Pence wisely replied: “I'll leave to the experts to make the estimates of how many people may be infected.”

If only Guthrie could have accurately quoted one of those experts, Dr. Fauci. Testifying before Congress on Wednesday, the National Institutes of Health chief specifically knocked down the idea of making any prediction of specific infection numbers in the U.S.:

 

 

If we are complacent and don’t do really aggressive containment and mitigation, the number could go way up and be involved in many, many millions. If we start to contain, we could flatten it. So there’s no number answer to your question until we act upon it.

So Dr. Fauci was discussing how “aggressive containment and mitigation” efforts taken now could prevent millions from being infected, he wasn’t issuing a hard, fast prediction as Guthrie portrayed.

Later in the interview with Pence, Guthrie actually decried President Trump for calling out some of the “media hype” about the disease:

Unfortunately, this has been infected by politics, like so many things, and some people think that is just hysteria and media hype. I mean, the President himself said on Monday, “The fake news media and their partner, the Democratic Party, is doing everything to inflame the coronavirus situation.” So there are people out there who believe this, and they are going about their business like nothing’s going on. And we have about 10-15 seconds for you to get your message out to them, for people who aren’t afraid of coronavirus and think it’s just politics and hype.

Pence pointed out: “Well, obviously there’s been some irresponsible rhetoric, but the American people should know that President Trump has no higher priority than the health and safety and well-being of the people of this country.”

NewsBusters has catalogued the sheer tonnage of “irresponsible” media coverage about the virus.

Later in the 7:30 a.m. ET hour, chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel reported from Germany on virus mitigation efforts in Europe and wished that Pence had “leveled with the people”:

Just a few minutes ago, Savannah was pushing Vice President Pence for exactly this number, how many people could be infected by the coronavirus as it goes forward? And he wouldn’t go there. He just said we’re going to do more tests and we’ll see how it comes. Here in Germany, Angela Merkel leveled with the people. She said, look, 60% to 70% of Germans could – could end up being infected by the coronavirus. And then followed up by saying that most people will be okay, steps are being taken.

In addition to slamming the administration over its response to the disease itself, the morning show also blamed the President for the economic downturn caused by coronavirus concerns. Talking about Trump’s address to the nation, co-host Hoda Kotb wondered: “Right after the President spoke the Dow numbers just tanked....what exactly did he say that caused that?”

Business correspondent Stephanie Ruhle eagerly accepted the premise of the President being the cause of economic instability:

The markets, investors, companies saw the President not assessing the risk. Very clearly not saying how we’re going to increase testing and what the numbers are....This is a public health crisis that thus far has been addressed with PR, with politics, trying to downplay it for whatever reason. And because of that, we are now facing an economic crisis.

No one truly knows how mild or severe the COVID-19 pandemic could turn out to be, but demanding public officials just announce possible infection numbers without certainty does not seem like the best way to provide calm and accurate information to an anxious public.

Here is a transcript of Guthrie’s March 12 interview with Pence:

7:08 AM ET

(...)

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: I’m hoping that we can just get a lot of facts out in the few minutes we have together.

MIKE PENCE: Sure.

GUTHRIE: Just leveling with people, the President has said, as recently as two days ago, “This will go away.” Yesterday, Dr. Anthony Fauci said you can expect millions and millions to get it, “The worst is yet to come.” Congress’s own doctor said that had a third of the American population could get coronavirus. Do you agree with that number? What do your experts tell you the number of infected Americans is likely to be? I’m looking for a number, if you have it.

PENCE: Well, let me be clear that from early on the President has declared a public health emergency, suspended all travel from China. We limited – we limited travel and issued advisories for portions of Italy, South Korea, and now...

GUTHRIE: Yes, but on the number.

PENCE: ...the suspension of travel from Europe, precisely for the reason that we know there will be thousands more cases of coronavirus in this country.

GUTHRIE: Thousand or millions?

PENCE: I'll leave to the experts to make the estimates of how many people may be infected. And it’s important for your viewers to remember, Savannah, that the vast majority of people, even that contract the coronavirus, will experience flu-like symptoms and they’ll fully recover. But it’s because of the vulnerable population, seniors with serious chronic underlying health conditions, that we’re focusing so much attention on nursing homes. We’re communicating so much with health officials and families that have seniors in a vulnerable condition. We’re looking at the most vulnerable, we’re combating community spread.

(...)

7:14 AM ET

GUTHRIE: Unfortunately, this has been infected by politics, like so many things, and some people think that is just hysteria and media hype. I mean, the President himself said on Monday, “The fake news media and their partner, the Democratic Party, is doing everything to inflame the coronavirus situation.” So there are people out there who believe this, and they are going about their business like nothing’s going on. And we have about 10-15 seconds for you to get your message out to them, for people who aren’t afraid of coronavirus and think it’s just politics and hype.

PENCE: Well, obviously there’s been some irresponsible rhetoric, but the American people should know that President Trump has no higher priority than the health and safety and well-being of the people of this country. You can go to coronavirus.gov right now to find out what every American can do to keep yourself, your family, your workplace and your school safe.

GUTHRIE: Thank you.

PENCE: But you can rest assured, we’re gonna focus on communities where we’ve had community spread.

(...)

NB Daily Health Care Coronavirus NBC Today Video Savannah Guthrie Mike Pence

Sponsored Links