Yahoo News Reporter Literally Gets Taken to School on Testing by Birx, Trump

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President Trump didn’t host a formal White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing on Tuesday, but he twice took questions from reporters after coronavirus-related events. It was after a pool spray with Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis that Trump and Task Force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx corrected Yahoo News White House correspondent Hunter Walker in real-time after he falsely claimed South Korea has tested more people per capita than the U.S.

Walker led off with this question: Mr. President, overall South Korea has done five times more tests than the U.S. per capita. Why is that?”

 

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Trump stated three times that he didn’t believe it to be true while Walker continued to insist that he’s in the right. The President called on Birx and she explained that, in the early days of this pandemic, we pushed tests to the outbreak areas….so, if you look at every single state that had an outbreak, their testing is greater than anywhere in the world, in the, you know 42 per thousand range.”

Walker tried to hit back, but Birx kept coming (click “expand”):

WALKER: Your point is taken about individual areas, but overall, we had 14 times more infections than South Korea. Are we doing something wrong, and why is that? They have a very dense population.

BIRX: Yeah, our epidemic looks much more like the European epidemic. So, right now, we’re tracking very close to the countries in Europe, and we are testing at their rate of their concentrated epidemics and where they are occurring in the metros. I think it really shows the susceptibility of our major cities, in the same way they were susceptible in Europe and so we’ve been very focused on that. That’s not to say we’re supporting the rural states. We’re —

WALKER: South Korea also has much denser cities.

BIRX: — very much supporting rural states and very much our testing. There is no state right now in the United States that’s tested really less than one percent, which is pretty remarkable when they don’t really have significant cases.

Just over four minutes later, Birx replied: “So, for our Yahoo gentleman, I just want to make it clear that South Korea’s testing was 11 per 100,000, and we’re at 17 per 100,000.”

According to Our World in Data (put together by the University of Oxford), the testing rates are per 1,000, but Birx’s first part mostly checked otherwise with the most recent complete data point (April 27) being 16.90 tested per 1,000 in the U.S. and 11.73 per 1,000 in South Korea.

While Trump showed restraint on Monday to the obnoxious, liberal media-beloved question by New York magazine’s Olivia Nuzzi, he didn’t take kindly to Walker (click “expand”):

TRUMP: Yeah, alright. Are you going to apologize, Yahoo? That’s why you’re Yahoo.

WALKER: I mean, if that’s — if that’s —

TRUMP: And nobody knows who the hell you are.

WALKER: correct, I —

TRUMP [TO JEFF MASON]: Go ahead, let’s go, Jeff.

WALKER: — based on the numbers I had, I just —

TRUMP: That’s why nobody knows you are, including me. Go ahead.

JEFF MASON: Mr. President —

BIRX: Just check it again.

TRUMP: You ought to get your facts right before you make a statement like that.

WALKER: Well, but we have had — we have had — 14 —

TRUMP: Okay, well, your facts are wrong.

Behold, a now-reliable liberal media tactic of using the measurement that they would see as best to bludgeon the country with, whether it be per capita or an overall total (e.g. cases, deaths, tests). It must be nice to be a liberal journalist. Not only do these top reporters not have to worry about losing their jobs, but they can continue to be shills while attacking the administration.

To see the relevant transcript from the White House pool spray on April 28 (as it aired on FNC), click “expand.”

FNC’s Outnumbered
April 28, 2020
12:29 p.m. Eastern

HUNTER WALKER: Mr. President, overall South Korea has done five times more tests than the U.S. per capita. Why is that?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I don’t think that’s true.

WALKER: That is true and you said this morning that the —

TRUMP: I don’t think it’s true.

WALKER: — the White House said the U.S. passes South Korea in virus testing.

TRUMP: I don’t think it’s true. Who are you with?

WALKER: Yahoo News. And it’s not true per capita.

TRUMP: Do you want to respond to that? Do you have the numbers?

DR. DEBORAH BIRX: Sure, I have the numbers. So, remember early on, we pushed tests to the outbreak areas, just like he described. His primary outbreak was in Miami-Dade and Broward County, and Palm Beach, so they pushed tests into that region. We did the same thing in the United States. So, if you look at every single state that had an outbreak, their testing is greater than anywhere in the world, in the, you know 42 per thousand range.

WALKER: Your point is taken about individual areas, but overall, we had 14 times more infections than South Korea. Are we doing something wrong, and why is that? They have a very dense population.

BIRX: Yeah, our epidemic looks much more like the European epidemic. So, right now, we’re tracking very close to the countries in Europe, and we are testing at their rate of their concentrated epidemics and where they are occurring in the metros. I think it really shows the susceptibility of our major cities, in the same way they were susceptible in Europe and so we’ve been very focused on that. That’s not to say we’re supporting the rural states. We’re —

WALKER: South Korea also has much denser cities.

BIRX: — very much supporting rural states and very much our testing. There is no state right now in the United States that’s tested really less than one percent, which is pretty remarkable when they don’t really have significant cases. But we’ve been really working with states to do sentinel surveillance, and also to reach out to her Native American populations as well as our inner cities. So, I think now that we’ve expanded testing dramatically, and CDC has altered the criteria for testing, I think you’ll see governors have unlocked more and more potential in their laboratories. We know that we have more laboratory capacity and you hear the governors talk about that we have capacity and we have to match — things, you know, resources that you need, the swabs in the extraction media, with the capacity and I think governors are well aware of how much. We are in that partnership, that’s what was announced yesterday. We want testing linked to critical contact tracing, but we also want testing as he described. The governor described a really important insight. He went where the virus could cause the most damage to human beings. He went into the nursing homes to really proactively test.

(….)

12:36 p.m. Eastern

BIRX: So, for our Yahoo gentleman, I just want to make it clear that South Korea’s testing was 11 per 100,000, and we’re at 17 per 100,000.

TRUMP: Yeah, alright. Are you going to apologize, Yahoo? That’s why you’re Yahoo.

WALKER: I mean, if that’s — if that’s —

TRUMP: And nobody knows who the hell you are.

WALKER: correct, I —

TRUMP: Go ahead, let’s go, Jeff.

WALKER: — based on the numbers I had, I just —

TRUMP: That’s why nobody knows you are, including me. Go ahead.

JEFF MASON: Mr. President —

BIRX: Just check it again.

TRUMP: You ought to get your facts right before you make a statement like that.

WALKER: Well, but we have had — we have had — 14 —

TRUMP: Okay, well, your facts are wrong.

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