Thursday’s Coronavirus Task Force briefing was a big one, but President Donald Trump wasn’t the one who created a stir during the session.

While Trump mentioned that new guidelines were under consideration, Dr. Deborah Birx indicated that models that were driving some of the initial decisions that were the basis for current 15-day guidance were not proving to be accurate.

I’m sure you have seen the recent report out of the U.K. about them adjusting completely their needs. This is really quite important. If you remember, that was the report that says there would be 500,000 deaths in the U.K. and 2.2 million deaths in the United States. They’ve adjusted that number in the U.K. to 20,000. Half a million to 20,000. We are looking at that in great detail to understand that adjustment.

I’m going to say something that is a little bit complicated but do it in a way we can understand it together. In the model, either you have to have a large group of people who a-asymptomatic, who never presented for any test to have the kind of numbers predicted. To get to 60 million people infected, you have to have a large group of asymptomatics.

We have not seen an attack rate over 1 in 1,000. So either we are measuring the iceberg and underneath it, are a large group of people. So we are working hard to get the antibody test and figure out who these people are and do they exist. Or we have the transmission completely wrong.

She noted the projections based on those models did not match the actual observations being recorded in South Korea, Italy or China. For example, Italy would be reporting 400,000 deaths if the predictive model was accurate. Italy’s currently reports 8,215 total deaths.

Thursday’s social media contained many worries about hospitals enacting “Do Not Resuscitate” orders because of the lack of equipment.

Hospitals on the front lines of the pandemic are engaged in a heated private debate over a calculation few have encountered in their lifetimes — how to weigh the “save at all costs” approach to resuscitating a dying patient against the real danger of exposing doctors and nurses to the contagion of coronavirus.

The conversations are driven by the realization that the risk to staff amid dwindling stores of protective equipment — such as masks, gowns and gloves — may be too great to justify the conventional response when a patient “codes,” and their heart or breathing stops.

Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago has been discussing a do-not-resuscitate policy for infected patients, regardless of the wishes of the patient or their family members — a wrenching decision to prioritize the lives of the many over the one.

Birx torched that notion while taking a scalpel to the media for its panic-based coverage of the pandemic.

We are reassured in meeting with our colleagues in New York that there are still I.C.U. Beds remaining and still significant — over 1,000 or 2,000 ventilators that have not been utilized.

Please for the reassurance of people around the world, to wake up this morning and look at people talking about creating DNR situations, Do Not Resuscitate situations for patients, there is no situation in the United States right now that warrants that kind of discussion. You can be thinking about it in the hospital.

Certainly, hospitals talk about this on a daily basis, but to say that to the American people and make the implication that when they need a hospital bed it’s not going to be there or a ventilator, it’s not going to be there, we don’t have evidence of that.

Finally, Birx stressed how important it was to give the proper assurances based on revised and more accurate projections.

It’s our job collectively to assure the American people, it’s our job to make sure that doesn’t happen. You can see the cases are concentrated in highly urban areas and there are other parts of the states that have lots of ventilators and other parts of New York state that don’t have any infected. We can meet the needs by being responsive.

There is no model right now — no reality on the ground where we can see that 60% to 70% of Americans are going to get infected in the next eight to 12 weeks.

This portion of the press briefing is the must-see moment of today’s Task Force briefing.

Based on the data currently obtained from the massive testing effort now being conducted, researchers now suspect that the estimates of the virus’s transmissibility have increased, which indicates that many more people have already have been infected than is know. This data, in turn, implies the virus is less dangerous than initially feared.

How one interprets the information Birx gave depends on the level of infection with Trump Derangement Syndrome:

Many admire her professionalism and honesty:

While others want to hold onto the hysteria.


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