President Donald Trump has labeled official coronavirus death statistics in China as “impossible,” with Dr. Deborah Birx agreed that Beijing has failed to fulfill its “moral obligation” to ensure transparency in the pandemic.
During a White House briefing on Saturday, Dr. Birx a graph of coronavirus death rates by country when Trump intervened, saying, “Does anyone really believe this number?”
Trump pointed to China at the bottom of the bar chart, with a death rate of 0.33 per 100,000 inhabitants, but marked with an asterisk to indicate the unreliability of the data.
The percentage of China ranks among other countries, including the United States, with 11.24 deaths per 100,000 people. Belgium topped the list with a horrifying 45.2.
Birx, the government coronavirus response coordinator, immediately agreed to support Trump’s skepticism and said, “I put China on it so you can actually see how unrealistic this would be.”
Dr. Birx presented a chart of coronavirus mortality rates by country when Trump intervened, saying ‘does anyone really believe this number?’ The American bar is blue
The death rate in China was marked with an asterisk to indicate the unreliability of the data
Birx immediately agreed to support Trump’s skepticism, saying, “I put China on it so you can actually see how unrealistic this would be.”
“When highly developed healthcare systems of the UK and Belgium and France and Spain, with doctors and nurses and equipment, have mortality rates in the 1920s and 45s – and Belgium has an exceptionally competent healthcare system, and then China at 0.33 do you realize these numbers … “Birx said after him.
“And this includes the double digits from Wuhan,” she added.
On Friday, the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the pandemic started, increased the number of COVID-19 fatalities by 1,290.
State media alleged that the undercount was due to insufficient absorption capacity at overwhelmed medical facilities at the height of the outbreak.
Wuhan’s revised official death toll of 3,869 is the highest in China. The number of total cases in the city of 11 million was also increased by 325 to 50,333, making up about two-thirds of the total of 82,367 cases announced in China.
There have long been questions about the accuracy of the case reports in China, with Wuhan in particular several days in January reporting no new cases or deaths.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping is seen in a file photo. There have long been questions about the accuracy of case reporting in China
That has led to accusations that Chinese officials were trying to minimize the impact of the outbreak and wasted opportunities to get it under control in a shorter period of time.
Birx, without mentioning China by name, blamed the country’s lack of transparency in the crisis.
“That’s why reporting is so important,” she said during the briefing. “That warning came from our European allies on the front lines. And that’s why in a pandemic, with a new disease, it’s critical to have that level of transparency because it changes our way of working as a nation. ‘
She credited data from Europe and said, “This allowed us to issue a warning about vulnerable individuals on March 15.”
“That information came from our European allies who were in the middle of a battle themselves,” she said.
Belgium has seen a horrific death rate of 45.2 per 100,000 inhabitants. Pictured: Mortuary workers load a hearse into the chest of a person who died of the coronavirus after his funeral, in Charleroi, Belgium on Saturday
So there is never an excuse for not sharing information. If you are the first country to have an outbreak, you really have a moral duty not only to talk about it, but to provide that information that is essential for the rest of the world to respond to it credibly, ”Birx said.
“I really want to thank our European colleagues who have worked very hard to provide us with that information, even during their own crisis,” she added.
Trump later added in the briefing of the Chinese death rates, “The number is impossible. It is an impossible number to hit. ‘
Trump was asked if he believed the virus accidentally escaped from a laboratory in Wuhan known to conduct experiments on coronaviruses and that he had been criticized for careless security procedures.
“Well, they said they are doing an investigation, so let’s see what happens to that investigation. But we also do research, “he said.