The White House coronavirus “briefings” have begun again — heaven help us! — and with them comes more disinformation, distraction and babble. Here are a few gems that the White House would have us believe.
» If we didn’t do so much testing, we wouldn’t have all those cases. Starting off with an easy one that checks all the boxes on the nonsense list.
» The rise in cases is caused by doing more tests. No, public health experts say that is not the case, and that there are actually more people getting sick.
» Only older people and those in prison need to be concerned. While it is true that 80 percent of the deaths overall are in those over 65 years old, among Hispanic and nonwhite people, 30 percent to 35 percent of the deaths are among those under age 65.
» Testing is a “double-edged sword.” What this means is that, on the one hand, more cases are found and that’s good from a public health standpoint to let us know where we are. On the other, however, reporting all those new cases is inconvenient because it distracts us from focusing on the really important stuff like the stock market. If I close my eyes and make a wish and tap my red shoes together, it will all go away.
» Our testing has improved. It is true that there are more tests being done daily than were done a month ago. However, when test results take a week to get back, the tests become essentially meaningless.
» We should only pay attention to hospitalizations and deaths. No again. While these data are important, they’re not the only thing we should consider. An increase in the number of cases means there will be more infections in contacts, and that results in more hospitalizations and more deaths.
» Most of the cases are mild to moderate cases and people recover. Correct. But these mild to moderate cases are the ones out there in the community spreading the virus. So if one mild to moderate case spreads the virus to 10 people and they each spread it to 10 people … Well, you see where this is going.
Wear a mask and practice social distancing.
— Retired physician and Goleta resident Joseph Morales attended Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and completed his emergency medicine residency at Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center. From 1988 to 1992, he was director of LAC+USC’s main emergency department and served as director of the California Emergency Medical Services Authority from 1993 to 1997. The opinions expressed are his own.