‘Data will be forthcoming’: Two years in, CDC without figures, has few answers – it’s infuriating

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Somewhat surprisingly, CDC director Rochelle Walensky appeared on Fox News Sunday but seemed to be short on data when Fox News host Bret Baier asked her how many COVID-19-related deaths in the U.S. were the direct result of the virus and how many were individuals who died from underlying conditions while having COVID-19.

“Do you know how many of the 836,000 deaths in the U.S. linked to COVID are from COVID or how many are with COVID, but they had other comorbidities?” Baier asked. “Do you have that breakdown?”

“Yes of course with omicron we’re following that very carefully,” Walensky responded. “Our death registry of course takes a few weeks — it takes a few weeks to collect and, of course, omicron has just been with us for a few weeks. But those data will be forthcoming.”

Walensky reportedly met with a media consultant recently to improve her communication skills and she appeared to come away with an improved skill of not answering question, although she did verify, albeit indirectly, that Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor was wrong when she stated that there were “over 100,000 children… in serious condition and on ventilators.”

Baier pressed on the issue, saying “the number is not 100,000. It’s roughly 3,500 in hospitals now,” prompting Walensky to reply, “Yes, there are.”

After a quick pivot from the director to tout vaccinations for children, Baier followed up, “Do you have a number of children on ventilators?”

“I do not have that off the top of my head, but what I can say is for it — I don’t believe there are any in many of these hospitals who are vaccinated,” she replied. “So, really, the highest risk of being on a ventilator if your child is if you’re unvaccinated.”

The CDC under Walensky, a former professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School has a history of mixed signals and confusing guidance when it comes to the pandemic.

“Before you took this job officially, you emphasized that one of your primary goals was to restore public trust, but in this time, do you think that it’s fair to say that the trust and confidence the public has gone down, with the CDC?” Bier asked.

Walensky responded by essentially ducking the question.

“You know, this is hard, we have ever-evolving science with an ever-evolving variant, and my job is to provide updated guidance in the context of rapidly rising cases and that is what we’ve done, and I am here to explain it to the American people and I’m committed to continuing to do so and to continuing to improve,” she answered.

Walensky’s inability to provide basic facts and figures in response to questions that have been lingering for nearly two years did not go over well online. Here’s a sampling of the responses to the story from Twitter:

Tom Tillison


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