White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx told “Special Report” Thursday night that she believed reports out of China that there had been no new cases of coronavirus in Wuhan, the city where the pandemic originated, in recent days.
“If you watched the trend lines over time, they’re similar to South Korea,” Birx told host Bret Baier during a wide-ranging interview. “At this time, we believe that data.”
However, Birx added, “Everyone is concerned about why we weren’t alerted earlier.”
Birx also told Baier that the White House task force will reexamine its 15-day guidelines for citizens to combat the spread of coronavirus “on Day 14.” Birx helped unveil the guidelines, including the now-famous call for “social distancing” on Monday. She also declined to rule out a possible White House order to shutdown domestic air travel, saying only: “Everything is on the table.”
“Every day we go over data and use science and data to drive policy and decision-making,” she said.
In addition, Birx confirmed that the Trump administration is actively looking to cut red tape and accelerate the use of certain medications that studies have shown help treat coronavirus.
Baier asked Birx about related medications chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, which are typically used to treat malaria and arthritis and have been around since at least 1950
“A couple of countries have reported that it showed promise,” said Birx, a former military physician from Pennsylvania. “That doesn’t mean that it will show promise in Americans — it showed promise in the test tubes. What we are very interested in is making sure we have eliminated red tape to make the drug available through their physicians, and study it at the same time.”
Birx added that the government is also looking at Remdesivir — an antiviral drug that has been used to treat the Ebola virus and Marburg virus.
She also rejected claims that younger people and children are completely unaffected by the coronavirus.
“If you look at the Italian data, you look at all of the other data around the world: children and people under 19 have done very well. That doesn’t mean they don’t get seriously ill, but they have done well,” she said.
Officials in Florida and elsewhere have criticized the Spring Breakers who continue to congregate on the beach, with some verbally flouting federal and state requests regarding “social distancing.” Some beaches in South Florida have closed in response to the lack of caution being shown by some of the folks visiting there.