The Trump administration is handling the coronavirus outbreak better than previous administrations addressed earlier emerging contagions, said Dr. Marc Siegel, professor of medicine at New York University, Fox News medical correspondent, and author of False Alarm: The Truth about the Epidemic of Fear.
Siegel shared his analysis on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Sunday with special guest host Joel Pollak.
“I’ve been handling these emerging contagions for about 20 years now, and I have to tell you, I’ve never seen one handled better,” said Siegel of President Donald Trump’s approach to the coronavirus outbreak.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) erred in its messaging with a “doom and gloom comment” framing the spread of coronavirus in the U.S. as inevitable without quantifying caveats, Siegel stated.
“It’s not a question of if this will happen but when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illnesses,” said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s immunization and respiratory disease division, on Tuesday.
Siegel praised the Trump administration’s personnel selection for its coronavirus task force, headed by Vice President Mike Pence.
“The task force are really top players,” said Siegel, noting the task force’s inclusion Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) infectious disease. Fauci is “one of the top infectious disease experts in the country,” he noted.
Siegel noted the coronavirus task force’s inclusion of CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield, a virologist, and Dr. Nancy Messonnier, an expert in vaccines.
“They’ve been doing exactly what they’re supposed to be doing,” said Siegel of the Trump administration’s measures towards protecting Americans from the coronavirus. “[They are] restricting travel, isolating patients who are sick and, trying to cut down on contact. It’s a very hard thing to do when people are pouring in from all over the world.”
Siegel contrasted the coronavirus’s mortality rate with those of SARS, swine flu, and the flu.
“SARS had about a ten percent mortality [rate], but it only affected about 8,000 people,” recalled Siegel. “Swine flu had a very, very low mortality for flu, but flu itself really only causes about a point-four percent death rate, and [coronavirus] is about one-point-four percent. So this is killing more than flu, but I want to make a couple of points that will reassure people.”
Siegel continued, “One, at the beginning of an emerging contagion, it always appears more deadly than it actually is. The 1918 flu is an exception, but normally as time goes on, it’s less deadly, and part of that is because you see more immunity appearing, and you also find a lot of milder cases — or even cases where people don’t get sick at all. You find that as you start to test more people.”
Undiagnosed and asymptomatic persons infected with coronavirus are not captured in data for quantifying mortality rates, explained Siegel, “Mild cases that are being undiagnosed make [coronavirus] seem more deadly.”
The coronavirus outbreak illustrates the need for America’s economy to decouple from China, assessed Siegel.
“We’re relying on China for 90 percent of our ingredients for pharmaceuticals,” Siegel remarked. “That hopefully will change as a result of this because we’re going to end up with tremendous shortages of basic drugs, including antibiotics and blood pressure medication if this continues much longer in Wuhan.”
Siegel concluded, “This is a wake-up call that we must make more of our pharmaceuticals here in the United States.”
Asked about news media conduct regarding coronavirus, Siegel said, “They’re certainly not helping because they’re hyping, and the hyping leads to hysteria.
Breitbart News Sunday broadcasts live on SiriusXM Patriot 125 from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Eastern.
Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter.