White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx told Fox News’s Bret Baier on Thursday that the Trump administration is leaving all options on the table to stop the spread the coronavirus that originated in China.
“Do you believe the Chinese report that there are no new transmissions in the Wuhan province, no local transmissions today?” Baier asked.
“You know, if you watch the trend lines over time, and if you watch them, as you line them up with South Korea they’re very similar. So at this point, at this moment, we would believe those data,” Birx responded. “I think everyone’s still concerned about why we weren’t alerted earlier.”
“We know what to do now to stop the spread of the virus,” Birx said. “I think, are we, as an American people, as a community of individuals who care for each other, willing to make this personal sacrifice to change the course of the virus so it’s not 25 million infected, it’s not 5 million infected, but maybe 50,000 to 150,000 infected. That’s the possibility that we hold in our hands.”
When asked by Baier about the timeline needed to gain control of the outbreak in the United States, Birx said, “You can’t average the data. I call it the tyranny of averages. You can’t make decisions by melding all the data together either by America or by states. You’ve got to really go granularly into the counties and understand spread in every single county.”
Baier then highlighted several of the drugs that were being floated as possible effective treatments for those infected with the coronavirus.
“What is your straight assessment of how much that could factor in and how soon?” Baier asked.
“Well, the president made it clear over several weeks that he wanted something that was available now,” Birx said. “He wanted something that would be available over the next 30 days, and he wanted something available — that would be available potentially next fall if we needed it. And even into the fall of 2021 as a vaccine.”
“So we started planning and working from day one. We’ve screened a lot of compounds. Chloroquine did show promise overseas. I think the FDA has joined forces in eliminating red tape to ensure that that product could be available to physicians to prescribe to their patients,” Birx added. “But we want to be able to study it at the same time. Not limit use, but actually study at the same time to see if it does have the impact that others have reported.”
Baier later pressed Birx about additional things that the Trump administration was considering doing to limit the spread of the virus.
“Is a federal shutdown of air travel being considered tonight?” Baier asked.
“You know, as President Trump has said from the beginning, everything is on the table,” Birx said. “Every day we go over data, the task force reviews it and really uses science and data to drive policy and decision-making.”
“So I guess the answer is yes, everything’s on the table?” Baier pressed.
“Everything’s on the table,” Birx responded.