Friday, April 24, 2020

Shirking Responsibility

Some people are letting a famous doctor off the hook from Thursday's task force briefing:

And worse:

President Trump can be seen stating (at 50:05 of the video below)

I would like you to speak to the medical doctors to see if there’s any way that you can apply light and heat to cure. You know? If you could? And maybe you can, maybe you can’t. Again, I say maybe you can, maybe you can’t. I’m not a doctor. But I’m a person that has a good… You know what. Deborah, have you ever heard of that? The heat and the light relative to certain viruses, yes, but relative to this virus?

Notwithstanding the impression of Bitecofer and others impressed by Dr. Birx, the latter's facial response occurred as the President was talking, hence not part of what was seen on television.  On C-Span 2 and CBS, Dr. Birx can be seen responding; on NBC, the camera was focused on Trump. Birx responded to the President, haltingly, "That is a treatment. I mean, certainly fever is a good thing. When you have a fever, it helps your body respond. But, I’ve not seen heat or light as a-" Trump cut her off to state "I think that's a great thing to look at. Okay?"

The fever thing obscures the correct answer, which is "no." Much better yet, Dr. Birx could have stood up and walked toward the podium.  The Secret Service would not have stood between her and the President. Mike Pence would not have slid over and tackled her. Donald Trump would not have waved her off with an accusation of "fake news."

Once at the podium, she would not have been off to the side, relatively meekly, where she gave a mixed message . She has "not seen heat or light..." but fever "helps your body to respond." Birx would have commanded the bully pulpit and could have clarified that once there is viable treatment, medical experts will clearly inform the public. And in the meantime, don't do anything foolish.

Instead, today  a spokesperson for the UK-based owner of Lysol had no choice but to issue a statement in part warning "we must be clear that under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body (through injection, ingestion or any other route)," The company claimed "responsibility in providing consumers with access to accurate, up-to-date information as advised by leading public health experts."

We would have been even better served had a leading health advisor, with an opportunity to demonstrate that American lives are more important to her than holding on to her position, had herself provided that accurate, up-to-date information, at that moment, when it was most needed.

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