I just watched the White House briefing on COVID-19. These are my thoughts and takeaways:
The most important factor is that the briefing was grounded in science. Pence presented a facts based overview on what has been done, who is doing it, and how the cruise ship in California is being dealt with. The scientists presented based on a review of data and on an approach combating the virus that is objective, from a science centered approach, not on opinions, conjecture or otherwise. Later tonight a a set of guidelines on how to we, as individuals, can approach and deal with the virus will be posted on the government’s corona virus website. The origins of the presentation are from Australian scientists who are fighting the disease. Medical experts updated and adapted it to use here. A note on the press conference: it really helped that the president left the room. He’s spread enough misinformation already.
I really wish the briefing had addressed the increase in testing in greater depth. It is VERY likely that over the next few days there will be a large jump in the number of confirmed cases. The briefing should have talked about it because a subjective look at the numbers could create panic. The only fact that can be said for sure is that when you test you find things, both positive and negative results. If the numbers go up? It may mean the virus is spreading faster than we thought. It could mean that it’s not spreading anymore, that we’ve just found more of it than we realized existed. The numbers alone mean nothing without the context and review provided by the people who study the spread of the diseases. So listen to the context from the experts and don’t just look at the numbers.
Finally, before sharing any information? Confirm it with a reliable source. I’ve seen news reports that people believed Corona Beer causes the virus. Others that Tito’s Vodka is an effective hand sanitizer. Today CNN said there were stories from France that taking cocaine is a cure. NONE OF THESE ARE TRUE. So before you pass something on? Please confirm it.
Frankly, I have more confidence in our government’s approach to this than I did yesterday. It’s because I heard from the people who have made a career of working on public health issues. Oh, and the president kept his mouth shut.