On Wednesday during the coronavirus briefing for the press, President Trump seized upon an opportunity to jab ABC News correspondent Jon Karl, whom he has called a “third-rate reporter,” after Karl asked a question which White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx immediately shot down.
Karl asked if the Trump administration approved of California testing people who were asymptomatic from the coronavirus, prompting Birx to immediately fire back, answering, “Not only do we agree with it, it was in our guidelines.”
After Birx delivered an explanation of exactly what the Trump administration’s policy was, Trump pointedly said to Karl, “You didn’t know that was in the guidelines?”
Karl asked, “The state of California has now partially broken with CDC restrictions on who will get guidance and who will get testing; cause they want to test people without any symptoms at all in high-risk environments like a nursing home. Do you agree with this? Vice President Pence, do you agree with this move?”
Birx stepped in with a direct and thorough explanation:
Not only do we agree with it, it was in our guidelines. That was fundamental to our guidelines and I think we were the first group that said testing asymptomatics will be key. We’ve always said that we think that’s a significant contribution to infections and we went to the places where we thought it was most critical to find cases the earliest, and so that is where we have asked states in the guidelines to start with nursing homes, indigenous peoples, and people in underserved areas in cities to really ensure that we’re monitoring for any type — because we know that the asymptomatic piece may be the tip of the iceberg, in fact be the iceberg underneath the surface … but in parallel we’re working with states and local governments to really find what the population is by doing, in collaboration with states, working with them together, to really reinforce this antibody testing but in a careful way where you do two-antibody testing to increase your sensitivity and specificity into the 99-plus percent range, because we think it’s really important that you have a very high-quality test but a high-quality test that you can really tell someone that they’ve had this before.
And so we’re waiting to have those two tests that we can do in series to really assure people. But that was in the guidelines from the very beginning, and we think it’s fundamental, both for right now and going through the fall because that will be our early alert if any of the COVID virus reappears.
Trump turned to Karl. “You didn’t know that was in the guidelines?”
The Daily Wire, headed by bestselling author and popular podcast host Ben Shapiro, is a leading provider of conservative news, cutting through the mainstream media’s rhetoric to provide readers the most important, relevant, and engaging stories of the day. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a subscriber.