Trump’s head of the coronavirus response team, Dr. Deborah Birx, has admitted that she questions the COVID mortality rates reported by China.
Up until now, she’s been mostly cautious in her communications to the public, but on Saturday she left no doubt that she believes China isn’t giving the world the entire story.
Dr. Birx prepared an informative PowerPoint presentation as part of Saturday’s press briefing. On one of the slides, she lists the “deaths per 100,000” population, which is a standard for measuring the deadliness of a disease.
While countries with advanced medical systems, such as Belgium, reported over 40 deaths per 100,000, China reports only 0.33 deaths per 100,000. Doesn’t that seem a bit odd?
Notably, the US stood at just over 11 deaths per 100,000.
Read what Newsweek had to report about Dr. Birx’s data:
President Donald Trump was not the only member of his administration’s Coronavirus Task Force on Saturday to question China’s very low death rate from the COVID-19 pandemic. His task force response coordinator had questions, even calling China’s rate “basically unrealistic.”
Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, displayed a graph that shows the mortality rates of countries around the world, and China is at the bottom with the lowest rate.
Belgium tops the list with a 45.2 deaths per 100,000 people, with the United States close to the bottom at an 11.24. Then there’s China, with an asterisk next to its name, with 0.33. Birx explained why China was on the chart, saying the country where coronavirus originated should have also been transparent when first dealing with the virus that became a global pandemic.
“I put China on there so you could see how basically unrealistic this could be,” Birx said. “When highly-developed health care delivery systems of the United Kingdom and France and Belgium, Italy and Spain with extraordinary doctors and nurses and equipment, have case fatality rates in the 20s and up to 45 in Belgium, which has an extraordinary competent health care delivery system and then China at point-33.”
The coronavirus, first detected in Wuhan, China in late 2019, now has cases that have topped 2.3 million worldwide, with nearly 160,000 deaths around the globe by April 18. The United States leads all countries in both cases (734,000) and deaths (38,000). Birx suggested the numbers in China be much greater than they have been reported.
“You realize these numbers, even though this includes the doubled number out of Wuhan. So I wanted really to put it in perspective, but I also wanted you to see how great the care has been for every American that has been hospitalized.”
You can see Dr. Birx’s full comments below. In the clip, she asserts that China’s figures are “unrealistic”:
On Twitter, Dr. Birx received quite the applause for pointing out that China's most likely isn't anywhere near accurate:
President Trump has been very critical of the part China has played in the COVID pandemic.
Earlier this month, he put aid to the WHO on hold pending an investigation into potential mismanagement at the organization at China's behest.
Appearing on ABC, Dr. Birx didn't answer whether Trump should've cut off aid to the WHO, but she did state China has a "moral obligation" to be transparent because the pandemic originated there.
Fox News has details on her appearance:
Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator, deferred on Sunday from answering a question about whether it was “fair” for President Trump to cut off funding to the World Health Organization, but did say that China needs to be more transparent in reporting its cases of the novel coronavirus.
Birx said that “after this is over” there needs to be an investigation into how the virus was able to spread to almost every country on Earth and what mistakes need to be avoided to prevent future pandemics.
“It’s always the first country that gets exposed to the pandemic that has really a higher moral obligation on communicating on transparency because all of the other countries around the world are making decisions on that,” Birx said on ABC’s “This Week.” “And that’s something we can look into after this is over.”
President Trump last week announced the U.S. was cutting off payments to the World Health Organization during the coronavirus pandemic and accused the organization of failing to do enough to stop the virus from spreading when it first surfaced in China.
Trump claimed the outbreak could have been contained at its source and that lives could have been saved had the U.N. health agency done a better job investigating the early reports coming out of China.
“The WHO failed in its basic duty and must be held accountable,” Trump said at a Tuesday briefing. He said the U.S. would be reviewing the WHO's actions to stop the virus before making any decision on resuming aid.
Here's Dr. Birx's full appearance on ABC: