U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams speaks during a briefing on coronavirus in the Brady press briefing room at the White House, Saturday, March 14, 2020, in Washington, as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin listens. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Like White House Coronavirus Task Force response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx, Surgeon General Jerome Adams is like a breath of fresh air when it comes to cutting through the media hysteria that has been responsible for much of the panic that has set in for some thanks to their deliberately sensationalistic reporting.
Such was again the case on Friday, when Adams sat down to talk with CBS This Morning co-host Gayle King about the task force’s response to the outbreak.
During the interview, King focused on ventilator demand and how “doctors and nurses around the country are saying” they need more and they need them ASAP.
“You know, doctors and nurses around the country are saying, ‘Hello, government, we need ventilators, we need ventilators now,” King stated. “But President Trump seems to have a different take on that.”
Shen then played a clip of an interview Trump did on Sean Hannity’s program on Fox News Thursday night in which Trump claimed he had “a feeling that a lot of the numbers that are being said in some areas are just bigger than they’re going to be. I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators.”
King then took the opportunity to take a swipe at the president by saying “to our knowledge, [Trump] has no medical training, yet he continues to question the advice from the medical experts and professionals” before asking Adams if he found this “frustrating” – as if to suggest a president should not raise questions in response to recommendations given to him under any scenario.
Dr. Adams ignored the dig at Trump and the attempt by King to pit him against the president by calmly referring back to Dr. Birx’s remarks earlier in the week about ventilators and doomsday projections:
“Well, you mentioned ventilators, and Dr. Birx said this. When you look at some of the projections out there, they’re based on worst-case scenarios and doing something. I heard a reporter yelling at Peter Navarro yesterday, ‘Where is a million ventilators?’ A million ventilators for the United States would mean one in 300 people in this country were on a ventilator at once. There is nowhere in the world where we’ve seen that type of spread of coronavirus, not even close. And so, some of these projections are way off.
But we are leaning into supply. I was on a meeting with the American Society of Anesthesiologists last week and they’ve identified 70,000 ventilators that are in communities right now that can be converted.”
Before Dr. Adams could finish his answer, King interrupted and pivoted to NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s requests for more ventilators:
“But we heard New York Governor Andrew Cuomo ask for ventilators. He gave very specific numbers. Do you think he doesn’t know what he’s talking about when it comes to this issue? When he’s in constant contact with New York – the top New York hospitals, by the way, that are in trouble.”
King asked this question without noting, as she did with Trump, that Cuomo also has no medical training.
Adams again calmly responded:
“I think that’s a fair question, and I think that if you talk to experts, Dr. Fauci, Dr. Birx and others, the models in many cases are way off. New York City, we actually have people on the ground who have told us that there are 1,000 ventilators sitting in a warehouse right now that haven’t been used.
You heard Governor Cuomo yesterday say, ‘Look, we actually have resources, they’re just mismatched.’ And so, we sent a team, a FEMA team to help New York City make sure the resources are getting to where they need. I talked to people in western New York who said they’re furloughing nurses in hospitals in western New York state while people in New York City are suffering. We need to make sure we get the right resources to the right people. And that’s what we’re committed to doing.”
King then tried a couple of gotcha questions on Adams, asking if he was “pleased” with the government’s response to the coronavirus, and he again did not take the bait, telling her he would not be satisfied until everyone at all levels had what they needed and this crisis was over.
What I found really frustrating about this segment is how King gave credence to Cuomo’s claims, citing the fact that he was talking to medical experts, yet on the other hand she assumed Trump was making his claim without consulting the experts he has on the task force. For all we know, Trump could be saying that the numbers of ventilators Cuomo and others are asking for is too high based on the medical experts he’s talked to.
Totally one-sided interview, of course, but Adams handled it well.
(Hat tip: Kyle Drennen at Newsbusters)