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The White House response coordinator for the coronavirus task force said Thursday that extreme predictions about the pandemic don’t line up with the incoming data, while also pushing back against unfounded rumors that could alarm the public.
Dr. Deborah Birx said 19 of all 50 states with confirmed cases have low levels of the outbreak.
“When people start talking about 20 percent of a population being infected, it’s very scary,” she said during Thursday’s White House briefing. “But we don’t have data that matches that based on the [actual] experience.”
Birx also pushed back against rumors of changes to do-not-resuscitate policies, saying such falsehoods could scare the public. Hospitals across the United States are reportedly discussing the possibility of a blanket do-not-resuscitate policy for infected patients to prevent the virus from spreading.
“There is no situation in the United States right now that warrants that kind of discussion,” Birx said.
Earlier this week, Birx said new cases had been consistent “but not rising more than day-over-day rise.”
The U.S. overtook China Thursday as the country that is hardest hit by the pandemic. At least 82,404 people have contracted the virus in the United States, including 1,000 deaths. The U.S. has now accounted for about 14.9 percent of cases worldwide.
New York City is the epicenter of the outbreak, with more than 21,000 cases and 281 deaths. New York State had a surge in coronavirus-related deaths — 385 — in the past 24 hours.