News & Politics

No, That White House Press Room 'Hot Mic' Revealing COVID-19 Stats Wasn't a Conspiracy. It Wasn't Even Fake News

Screenshot/YouTube

If you’re like me you’ve received a video on Facebook that’s so conspiracy-ey “you must see it before Facebook removes it!!!!” But it’s not a conspiracy. It’s not even fake news. It’s actually legitimate news reported by moi Tuesday.

In the video, Fox News correspondent John Roberts is talking with a masked colleague after the briefing by the White House Coronavirus Task Force. They’re grabbing their stuff and clearing out. The mics are still hot and we clearly hear the conversation:

Roberts: You can take off your mask, the case mortality rate is like 0.1 to 0.3.

Masked man: Really? That’s reassuring.

Roberts: USC and LA County Health came out with a study. They found that there are 7,000 [sic] cases in California, but they really believe that there are anywhere from 221,000 to 442,000 people who have been infected.So it suggests that case mortality is about a tenth of what we thought it seems to be.

Masked man: So it was a hoax?

Roberts: No, I don’t believe it was a hoax.

Then come big block letters reading, “THEY KNOW THE NUMBERS ARE WRONG! HAVE YOU HAD ENOUGH?”

Sigh.

That study Roberts rightly pointed to came out on Monday by researchers at USC and the LA County Health Department. The results are applicable to LA County only for the moment. It’s new news.

As I reported:

Researchers from the University of Southern California and the Los Angeles County Health Department announced the results of the first stage of a multi-stage blood testing of 893 LA residents and found that as many as 442,000 are believed to have the antibodies to COVID-19. That means they were exposed to the virus and didn’t know it. More testing is required, but Dr. Deborah Birx of the White House Coronavirus Task Force said in yesterday’s briefing that antibodies mean immunity 99% of the time.

What that means is more people will be freed from lockdowns and be able to go back to their normal lives. It also means that the death rate is much lower than feared.

The study, the first of several announced by USC, will test the blood of a predetermined subset of people over the next few months to determine how many people in the county really have been exposed. Later on they’ll determine the extent of the immunity to COVID-19 these people have.

The two in the video also talked about “everyone getting a vaccine anyway.” The White House Press Corps has been given COVID-19 tests, as has been reported, but seeing as vaccines are only in the trial phase, it’s doubtful they’ve gotten those. Nevertheless, I’ve reached out to the White House Correspondents Association to ask about that. If I get an answer I’ll let you know.

For those playing the home game, the information we have about COVID-19 is changing every single day. The story is informed by more tests and anecdotal evidence. The story will continue to change.

As the Trump-Is-a-Russian-Secret-Agent hoax taught us, there is great reason to question those in power. But that was an actual hoax.

This is just good news about a study and a couple of guys talking about it. Relax.

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