On Monday, audio from a hot mic in the White House briefing room captured a conversation between Fox News reporter John Roberts and New York Times photographer Doug Mills discussing the China-originated novel coronavirus, according to Mediaite.
During the exchange, which seems to have taken place before President Donald Trump’s televised Monday evening briefing, Roberts tells Mills to take off his mask, since a new study out of California shows the COVID-19 fatality rate to be around past seasonal flu levels. In response, Mills tells Roberts that everyone “around here” has been “vaccinated” for coronavirus, apparently jokingly, Mediaite suggested in their report.
“When White House briefings are streamed live, some outlets carry the feeds — with audio and video — long before the events start,” explained the report. “On Monday, one such feed caught a sardonic masked White House denizen — who has now been identified as Mills — greeting Roberts as he emerged from the lower press office.”
“What do you know, buddy?” Mills says to Roberts, to which the Fox reporter responds, “You can take off the mask, the case fatality rate is 0.1 to 0.3 according to USC.”
Roberts was referencing a recent study by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health on the infection rate in Los Angeles. The study found the virus to be far more widespread than testing has told us thus far, which suggests the fatality rate of COVID-19 is far lower than initially reported, “more in line with the 2017-2018 flu than what we’ve seen in some other areas of the world.”
“Really? That’s reassuring,” the Times photographer tells Roberts, adding, “Everybody here has been vaccinated anyway.”
“So it was a hoax,” Mills seemingly jokes after Roberts outlines the study. “No, I don’t think it was a hoax,” the Fox reporter responds.
During the briefing, Roberts asked leading voice on the White House coronavirus task force, Dr. Deborah Birx, about the study he mentioned to Mills.
As noted by The Daily Wire, “Dr. Birx responded by saying the task force is extremely interested in studies like the one being conducted in Los Angeles because they still have no definitive data on the number of asymptomatic cases, which is crucial to understanding the infectious rate and the mortality rate. While she said the team is looking at the potentially significant findings of the study — which its lead researcher said could require authorities to ‘recalibrate disease prediction models and rethink public health strategies’ — Birx also cautioned that testing is not always ‘100% accurate.'”
Birx then added “that they are ‘looking at all those studies very carefully,’ but suggested that they are handling them with caution because many tests give false results,” The Daily Wire noted. “‘These tests are not 100% sensitive or specific,’ Birx emphasized. That said, the idea that more people have carried and are carrying the virus who are asymptomatic than confirmed cases indicate, she said, is something they are very interested in as they still have no hard data on it yet.”
Very Interesting exchange Caught on (GST HOT MIC) between FAKE NEWS @FoxNews @johnrobertsFox
and a FAKE NEWS Tech at Todays White House Press Briefing!#coronavirus #WhiteHousePressBriefing #TrumpPressConf @realDonaldTrump @DanScavino
— Golden State Times 🇺🇸 (@Goldstatetimes) April 21, 2020
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