There have been doomsday predictions of millions of Americans dying from COVID-19.
Some have even claimed that half the country would be infected… and that 80 percent of New Yorkers would catch the novel coronavirus.
Yet the actual data shows that we're nowhere close — or on the path — to any of those extreme, dire predictions.
While anything can happen in the future, the current trajectories are way off from the worst case models.
This isn't according to a media commentator.
This comes straight from Dr. Deborah Birx, who has been present at most of the daily pressers.
More details on Birx's comments below:
Many have argued that the media has politicized the COVID-19 pandemic to create a panic that harms President Trump's reelection chances.
The president himself even called the media response to the virus a "hoax."
It turns out the one of the topic medical advisors appears to agree with the President.
Dr. Deborah Birx looks to be steering the public away from the media's consistent refrain of panic, fear, and doom.
According to Fox News, Dr. Birx is trying to set the record straight on coronavirus predictions vs. reality:
The White House response coordinator for the coronavirus task force said Thursday that extreme predictions about the pandemic don't line up with the incoming data, while also pushing back against unfounded rumors that could alarm the public.
Dr. Deborah Birx said 19 of all 50 states with confirmed cases have low levels of the outbreak.
“When people start talking about 20 percent of a population being infected, it’s very scary," she said during Thursday's White House briefing. "But we don’t have data that matches that based on the [actual] experience.”
Birx also pushed back against rumors of changes to do-not-resuscitate policies, saying such falsehoods could scare the public. Hospitals across the United States are reportedly discussing the possibility of a blanket do-not-resuscitate policy for infected patients to prevent the virus from spreading.
"There is no situation in the United States right now that warrants that kind of discussion," Birx said.
Earlier this week, Birx said new cases had been consistent “but not rising more than day-over-day rise.”
It's been long expected that case numbers would rise in the country as testing becomes more available.
However, none of the data shows that cases are increasing at a faster rate than expected.
In fact, the data appears to be on the lower end of estimates.
Much can change in the coming weeks and months, but the current data should provide hope to those fearful of a worst case doomsday scenario.
Dr. Birx even suggested that the do-not-resuscitate conversations taking place in hospitals are unnecessary.
See the clip below:
The United States now leads the world with the most number of cases.
This number should be taken with a grain of salt.
There are legitimate questions about the numbers coming out of China.
There is also a lack of testing happening in India, one of the most populous countries in the world.
The United States is also over 5 times the size of countries like Italy, so the hard number of cases that the media is touting is not a representative metric of the severity of the outbreak.
The Hill has more on how Dr. Birx is attempting to put these numbers into perspective:
White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx cautioned Thursday against models that predict alarming increases in coronavirus infections and deaths in the U.S.
Birx, speaking at a White House press briefing, singled out a recent study on the United Kingdom that originally predicted 500,000 people would die from the virus and has since been revised down to predict 20,000 deaths in the U.K. She said the data the government has collected does not show that 20 percent of the U.S. population would be infected with COVID-19, cautioning against predictions that say so.
“When people start talking about 20 percent of a population getting infected, it is very scary but we don’t have data that matches that based on the experience,” Birx said.
“There’s no … reality on the ground where we can see that 60 to 70 percent of Americans are going to get infected in the next eight to 12 weeks,” Birx later continued.
Birx, an HIV/AIDS expert from the State Department who was brought on to coordinate the federal government’s response to the coronavirus, noted that 19 of the 50 U.S. states are showing a persistently low level of coronavirus cases despite reporting early infections. These 19 states each have fewer than 200 cases, Birx said, and are still working to actively contain the virus rather than mitigate its spread.
“That’s almost 40 percent of the country with extraordinarily low numbers and they are testing,” Birx said.
At the same time, Birx continued to raise concerns about the New York metro area, which has become the epicenter of coronavirus cases and accounts for more than 50 percent of all new cases being reported.
Birx also said that federal officials are concerned about Cook County, Ill., which includes Chicago, and Wayne County, Mich., which includes Detroit, becoming hotspots because of what appears to be rapid spread of COVID-19 in those counties.
This isn't to say that COVID-19 isn't a serious pandemic.
We should all be taking this seriously and be practicing healthy hygiene to keep ourselves as well as our loved ones healthy.
It appears, however, that the media fascination with worst case scenarios could be more politically motivated than an actual representation of the facts.
As the outbreak continues to spread, our health leaders will have a clearer picture of the most likely end game scenario.