Dr. Birx to media: Stop frightening Americans

White House coronavirus task force member Deborah Birx asks media to stop telling Americans that hospitals are running out of beds and ventilators, when it's not the case

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Dr. Deborah Birx at a White House briefing
Dr. Deborah Birx at a White House briefing
(Drew Angerer / Getty Images)
Last Updated:
March 27, 2020 - 11:09am

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Dr. Deborah Birx, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, is pleading with the media to stop frightening people worldwide with incorrect stories about supply shortages and hospitals enforcing universal "Do Not Resuscitate" orders. 

"Please, for the reassurance of people across the world ... there is no situation in the United States right now that warrants that kind of discussion right now," Birx said during the task force’s daily White House briefing Thursday.

“To make the implication that when they need a hospital bed, it's not going to be there, or when they need that ventilator, it's not going to be there, we don't have any evidence of that right now. It's our collective job to make sure that doesn't happen," Birx also said. 

"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. I want to be clear about that."  

Birx also attempted Thursday to clarify several other issues including the changing models that doctors and scientists are using to look at the coronavirus.

She cited the change in a predictive model coming out of the United Kingdom that initially predicted they would experience 500,000 deaths, and the United States would suffer  2.2 million deaths. 

That model has now shifted, and the U.K. is predicting only 20,000 deaths. 

"We are looking at that in great detail to understand that adjustment," Birx said. 

Earlier this week, two Stanford doctors put forward the suggestion that the fatality rate of the novel virus is significantly lower than models have shown.