The White House Coronavirus Task Force response coordinator is blaming China for the White House’s slow response to the coronavirus outbreak.
During Tuesday’s coronavirus press briefing, the president was asked if there was any specific modeling from the White House on guidance for each state regarding lockdown.
After touching on lockdown in states, Dr. Deborah Birx suggested China’s incomplete data may have contributed to the White House’s inability to effectively assess the severity of the global pandemic.
Brix noted China’s population statistics against its positive case figures. Based on the reports, Brix insists the initial coronavirus statistics were along the lines of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak of 2003.
“When you talk about could we have known something different, you know, I think all of us — I mean I was overseas when this happened, in Africa, and I think when you look at the China data, originally, and you said, ‘Oh well, 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.”
See Birx’s remarks below:
Brix went on to suggest that the medical community likely expected a smaller scale of the virus based on the data that was presented.
“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 now … when we see happened to Italy and see what happened to Spain,” Birx continued.
Birx’s response follows multiple reports that raise speculation about China’s data disclosure.
On Wednesday, U.S. spy agencies noted its challenges in developing an accurate scope to assess the coronavirus spread due to data inconsistencies in China, Russia, and North Korea, as reported on IJR.
Center for Global Development expert Jeremy Konyndyk is also stressing the importance of accurate, real-time data reporting.
“We want to have as close an accurate, real-time understanding of where the global hotspots are and where they are evolving,” Konyndyk said. “The world is not going to get rid of this thing until we get rid of it everywhere.”
Since the coronavirus reportedly began spreading in December of 2019, China has reported just over 82,000 cases based on data compiled by Johns Hopkins. Over the last two weeks, the reports of positive cases of coronavirus have slowed dramatically in China.