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Dr. Deborah Birx says coronavirus stats publicized in media are unnecessarily 'frightening to people'

Context is needed

Deborah Birx, coronavirus response coordinator, speaks as U.S. President Donald Trump listens during a Coronavirus Task Force news conference Tuesday in the briefing room of the White House in Washington, D.C. (Oliver Contreras/SIPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Dr. Deborah Birx, a member of President Donald Trump's coronavirus task force, said some of the alarming statistics being publicized about the spread of coronavirus are unnecessarily alarming to the public because they lack full context.

"We're really dealing with the here and now while we are planning for the future," Birx said. "And I think the numbers that have been put out there are actually very frightening to people."

All Places Aren't Equal: Birx noted that while national numbers can give some indication about the scope of the crisis, they don't always paint the most accurate picture.

"We have done some things that are horizontal across the country, but we are collecting data now in a county by county granular way," Birx said. "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."

Projection Panic: Some projections about how the spread of coronavirus will proceed have been truly terrifying. One example is the projection out of Germany that a majority of the nation's entire population would be infected, or California Gov. Gavin Newsom's suggestion that 56% of the state's population could be infected.

"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," Birx said. "That's through three cycles with nothing being done. We are dealing with cycle 'A' right now, not the 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 the 2021."

What's Actually Happened: Such projections don't necessarily line up with what has been observed elsewhere, such as in the Hubei province in China, the original epicenter of the virus and a place that suffered under a government that was actively suppressing the crisis.

"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," Birx said. "That is nowhere close to the numbers that you see people putting out there. I think it has frightened the American people."

(H/T The Daily Wire)

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