Dr. Deborah Birx, who serves as the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, revealed this week that China is directly to blame for “any lack of preparation from U.S. officials” on dealing with the coronavirus outbreak.
During a briefing Tuesday from the White House, Birx said the U.S. is still “missing a significant amount of the data” from China.
“When you talk about could we have known something different, you know, I think all of us, I was overseas when this happened in Africa and I think when you look at the China data originally, and you said, there’s 80 million people, or 20 million people in Wuhan and 80 million people in Hubei, and they come up with the number of 50,000, you start thinking of this more like SARS than you do this kind of global pandemic,” Birx said.
Birx said that in “frank” terms that when she looked at the data from China during the first days of the outbreak that she did not think that it would be a global pandemic because of how densely populated the outbreak area was compared to the number of cases that China reported.
“So, I think the medical community interpreted the Chinese data as this was serious, but smaller than anyone expected because I think probably we were missing a significant amount of the data” from China, Birx continued, adding that U.S. officials now have a much better idea of the disease now that they have seen happen Italy and Spain.
Just how untrustworthy is China?
The Washington Post, certainly not a media outlet friendly to President Trump, reported that we should be cautious about trusting numbers and data out of China.
An article in the journal Science estimates that 86 percent of Hubei’s cases were undocumented by the time authorities extended the lockdown to Wuhan and other cities on Jan. 23.
It is also likely that officials reported lower numbers of deaths from covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Especially once the central government’s propaganda mission to win the “people’s war” against the virus became clear, numbers shifted to achieve that vision. Such shifts would probably be subtle — not hundreds or thousands of hidden deaths, but instead excluding deaths that could be attributed to other types of pneumonia or heart failure, for instance.
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