'NOT NOW': US's leading experts on coronavirus shoot down conspiracy theories about inflated death rates
The top US health officials leading the response to the coronavirus pandemic shot down the numerous conspiracy theories about how the mortality rates were being misrepresented. In recent days, several influential figures have floated theories that the US had been inflating its statistics on deaths attributed to the coronavirus. "They are nothing but distractions," Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the US's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said. "I would just hope we just put those conspiracy stuff — and let somebody write a book about it later on, but not now," he added, while waving his hand. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
The top health officials leading the US's response to the coronavirus pandemic shot down the numerous conspiracy theories about how the mortality rates were being inflated. Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator, said during a press conference on Wednesday that her team has been "hearing both sides" to the unverified rumors about the number of coronavirus-related deaths being inflated or underreported. "This has been known from the beginning: so those individuals will have an underlying condition, but that underlying condition did not cause their acute death when it's related to a COVID infection," Birx said. "In fact, it's the opposite. Having an underlying condition and getting this virus, we know, is particularly damaging to those individuals." "If you have asthma ... if you have diabetes, if you have hypertension, these are preexisting conditions that put you at a greater risk to having a worse outcome," she added.
In recent days, several influential figures have floated theories that the US had been misrepresenting its statistics on the coronavirus, and that health officials may have not differentiated "between those who die with the disease and those who die from it." "There may be reasons people seek an inaccurate death count," Fox News host Tucker Carlson said during a segment on Tuesday. "When journalists work with numbers, there sometimes is an agenda." Earlier in April, conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh attempted to qualify his theory by saying he was "not trying to stir anything up," and claimed "that with this new arrival of COVID-19, that coronavirus is being listed as a cause of death for many people who are not dying because of it." "They're dying because of other things," Limbaugh added, according to The Daily Beast. "But it's speculation. It's fascinating." Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the US's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, also weighed in on the false assumptions by recalling his tenure advising previous president's amid the HIV/AIDS crisis. "Having been through other serious issues, particularly the very painful early years of HIV/AIDs — when people talk about conspiracy theories, you will always have conspiracy theories when you have a very challenging public health crisis," Fauci said. "They are nothing but distractions." "I can assure you we have so much to do to protect the health and the welfare of the American people that I would just hope we just put those conspiracy stuff — and let somebody write a book about it later on, but not now," he added, while waving his hand. Nearly 400,000 people in the US tested positive for the coronavirus as of Wednesday afternoon, and more than 12,000 have died.Join the conversation about this story »
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Using a bogus interpretation of C.D.C. data, radio hosts like Mark Levin cast doubt on 200,000...Using a bogus interpretation of C.D.C. data, radio hosts like Mark Levin cast doubt on 200,000 pandemic deaths.
Fauci slammed Tucker Carlson, saying he 'triggers some of the crazies' to attack him and that it's 'ridiculous' that he needs personal security to protect him
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious-diseases expert, gave an assessment of his vocal critic Tucker...Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious-diseases expert, gave an assessment of his vocal critic Tucker Carlson in an interview with The Washington Post on Friday. While Fauci said he is "not concerned about" what the Fox News host says about him, he said that Carlson's remarks often "triggers some of the crazies in society to start threatening me." Fauci was recently assigned personal security after receiving threats to his and his family's safety, which he said on Friday was "ridiculous." Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Dr. Anthony Fauci criticized Tucker Carlson on Friday, saying the Fox News host "triggers some of the crazies in society" to threaten him. Fauci, the top US infectious-diseases expert on the White House coronavirus task force, made the comment in a wide-ranging interview with The Washington Post's Geoff Edgers on Instagram Live. When asked whether he had heard of Carlson, Fauci said: "He's the guy that really loves me, right?" Edgers went on to recite various criticisms the Fox News host had made of Fauci in recent weeks — such as "Unelected Fauci has been leading this country" — and asked if it bothered or concerned Fauci. Fauci responded: "I'm not concerned about what he says. It's a little bit — I think you could say that when he does that, it triggers some of the crazies in society to start threatening me, actually threatening, which actually happens." Fauci and his family were assigned personal security after receiving threats to him and his family last month. He told The Washington Post on Friday: "I mean, who would have thought when I was in medical school doing things to save people's lives, I'd have to be going around with a security detail? That's really ridiculous." In the interview, Fauci also said that he does not pay attention to people who appear to idolize him, saying: "I actually don't pay attention to that, because that can really be distracting. I mean that sincerely." "I don't see the hero part, and I don't pay attention to the death threats and harassments either. We live in an extraordinary society where public-health issues become so politicized and divisive that when you start talking about prudent things to do to preserve public health, that's actually considered by some — hopefully a really small minority — by some as something worthy of threatening you. That's really bizarre." You can watch this segment in the video below. It appears around the 16-minute mark. Washington Post National Arts reporter Geoff Edgers interviewed Dr. Anthony Fauci as part of our IG Live series during quarantine. They talked about how Fauci wears and cleans his masks, his thoughts on schools reopening during the pandemic and his response to critics like Fox News host @tuckercarlsontonight. Tune in every Friday at 2 p.m. EDT (and some Tuesdays) to see Geoff live with more special guests. A post shared by The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) on Aug 14, 2020 at 12:12pm PDT on Aug 14, 2020 at 12:12pm PDT He also defended White House coronavirus czar Dr. Deborah Birx from the criticism she has received in recent weeks, saying she has a "very, very difficult job." Earlier this month, she came under fire from both sides of the political aisle. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that Birx had "enabled" the president and has not done enough to confront his baseless coronavirus claims. President Donald Trump later tweeted that Birx "took the bait & hit us" by offering a grim assessment of the US outbreak. Fauci was also asked for his opinion on Dr. Scott Atlas, the newly-hired White House coronavirus adviser who has vocally criticized lockdown measures, and called on schools and college football to restart. Fauci said he only met Atlas a few days ago and would not form an opinion of him until he works with him more. He also criticized the country's division over public health — contrasting those who follow health rules and those who see "public health as an obstacle to opening the country," and mask-wearers and anti-maskers. He said: "It should be society pulling as a whole to get this darn thing under control."" Fauci also said that he last spoke to Trump "just a couple days ago" when he briefed the president on vaccines, seemingly dispelling the idea that Trump was sidelining him.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Inside London during COVID-19 lockdown
White House medic Deborah Birx said coronavirus deaths will 'dramatically' decrease by the end of May, but social distancing will go on for much longer
Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator, told Fox News on Saturday that the...Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator, told Fox News on Saturday that the US will see a dramatic decrease in coronavirus hospitalizations and deaths by the end of May. But social distancing will have to continue "through the summer," Birx told NBC News on Sunday. Several states have begun to ease social distancing measures, but public-health experts fear that cases could rebound as a result. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. White House coronavirus task force coordinator Deborah Birx has a rough timeline for how the pandemic will play out in the US over the next several months. The number of coronavirus hospitalizations, ICU patients, and deaths "will be dramatically decreased by the end of May," Birx said in an interview with Fox News on Saturday. The number of cases, she added, will likely continue to rise. "As we expand testing more and more into the greater community with much less symptoms, we'll see additional cases," Birx said. She added that increased testing could help identify mild or asymptomatic cases "currently circulating in the community." But in an interview with NBC News on Sunday, Birx said social distancing would need to continue for several more months. "Social distancing will be with us through the summer to really ensure that we protect one another as we move through these phases," Birx said. Her comments follow the decision of several states to ease social distancing and stay-at-home restrictions. Georgia allowed certain non-essential businesses — including gyms, hair salons, and tattoo parlors — to reopen on Friday. That same day, Oklahoma reopened state parks and outdoor recreation areas, and allowed personal care businesses to resume appointments. Alaska also reopened retail businesses and dine-in services restaurants on Friday, under the proviso that those businesses operate at 25% capacity. Some public-health experts fear that easing restrictions too soon could allow cases to rebound. Health experts predict the US will see cases in the fall The end of the coronavirus pandemic will most likely be tied to the development of a vaccine — a process that could take about 18 months. On Wednesday, Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he was "convinced" the US will see coronavirus cases in the fall. In the meantime, public-health experts agree that social distancing is key to controlling the outbreak. "Every model shows that if we open things up now, we will just have a rebound," Elizabeth Halloran, a biostatistician at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and University of Washington, told Business Insider on April 13. Vice President Mike Pence told Fox News on Friday that the US "will largely have this coronavirus epidemic behind us" by Memorial Day weekend. A day earlier, he gave a similar timeline to radio host Rush Limbaugh. "I truly do believe if current trend lines hold, that by early June, we could largely have this coronavirus epidemic behind us, and begin to see our nation open back up and go back to work," Pence told Limbaugh. "If some of those early studies hold out, there will be an awful lot of Americans in the fall and in the winter of next year that actually enjoy a degree of immunity from the coronavirus. That will be a bulwark against this." On Sunday, Birx told NBC News that the vice president was referring to models based on data from Detroit and Louisiana. But Halloran said it's unlikely that most Americans will be immune to the virus before a vaccine becomes available. "If I had to put my nickel on it, we don't have very high herd immunity in this population currently," she said. "We hope that a vaccine could induce an immunity that will at least keep people from dying."Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: How location data can help track and stop the spread of COVID-19