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26 Mar, 2020 23:40

‘Models don’t match reality’: White House coronavirus chief rejects doomsday predictions as US tops Covid-19 case count

‘Models don’t match reality’: White House coronavirus chief rejects doomsday predictions as US tops Covid-19 case count

Even as the US overtook China in the official number of Covid-19 cases, the top physician leading the White House effort urged Americans not to panic, as models predicting the death of millions keep being proven wrong everywhere.

“The predictions of the models don’t match the reality on the ground in neither China, South Korea nor Italy,” Dr. Deborah Birx told reporters on Thursday. She noted that the alarmist statistics about the spread of the virus said Italy would reach 400,000 deaths by now, but the actual death toll was nowhere near that.

Italy, which has been the hardest-hit in terms of deaths from Covid-19, has reported over 80,000 cases with 8,215 fatalities and counting, just as the US surged to first place in the number of confirmed cases (over 83,000), but with far lower mortality of at least 1,200 deaths attributed to the virus so far.

Also on rt.com US overtakes China as country with highest number of confirmed Covid-19 cases – Johns Hopkins University

There is “no reality on the ground where we can see that 60-70 percent of Americans are going to get infected in the next 8-12 weeks,” Birx said.

Nineteen out of 50 US states have had a “persistently low” level of infection, with fewer than 200 registered cases, according to Birx, with 55 percent of new cases coming from the New York City metropolitan area. Several other urban centers – Detroit, Michigan and Chicago, Illinois – are also a matter of concern to the health officials.

However, of the 550,000 tests run in the US so far, only 14 percent came back positive – and 86 percent of those tested, who had to have symptoms in the first place, did not have Covid-19. 

Birx pointed out that either there is a significant number of people out there not showing symptoms but carrying the virus – which the authorities are now trying to find, using new antibody tests – “or we have the transmission completely wrong.”

Birx is a retired US Army immunologist who was appointed response coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force a month ago by Vice President Mike Pence. Prior to that, she was the US Global AIDS Coordinator, appointed in 2014 by then-President Barack Obama.

Entire US states have put much of their population under house arrest over the past two weeks based on doomsday models of Covid-19 spread and mortality rates amplified by alarmist activist groups. The shutdown has effectively collapsed the US economy, spiking unemployment claims to 3.3 million this week, while more than $2 trillion in government funds intended to salvage the harm is still waiting to be approved by Congress.

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