Apr 26, 2020 - Health

Birx: News headlines are "very slicey and dicey" on coronavirus coverage

Deborah Birx, the White House's coronavirus response coordinator, said Saturday on Fox News that the media needs to be "responsible" about its headlines while covering the coronavirus crisis, noting that most people don't read the full story.

Why it matters: President Trump, while speaking at White House coronavirus briefings, has accused reporters of being "fake news" and asked for more favorable coverage on the administration's response to the pandemic.

What she's saying: "I think the media is very slicey and dicey about how they put sentences together in order to create headlines. We know, for millennials and other studies, that some people may only read the headlines and if there's not a graphic, they're not going to look any further than that," Birx said on Saturday.

  • "We have to be responsible about our headlines. I think often the reporting may be accurate in paragraph three, four, and five, but I'm not sure how many people actually get to paragraph three, four and five. And I think the responsibility that the press has is to really ensure that the headlines reflect the science and data that is in their piece itself," she said.

The big picture: Birx said that the White House task force believes hospitalizations, ICU admissions and deaths caused by the virus "will be dramatically decreased by the end of May." She noted that cases "are a different issue" as testing expands into more communities and more cases are identified.

Go deeper: CDC director attempts to clarify "second wave" remarks after Trump backlash

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

The Department of Health and Human Services moved on Thursday to require that an individual's race, ethnicity, age and sex be submitted to the agency with novel coronavirus test results.

Why it matters: Some cities and states have reported the virus is killing black people at disproportionately high rates. There are gaps in the national picture of how many people of color are affected, since the data has not been a requirement for states to collect or disclose.

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HHS requests data on race and ethnicity with coronavirus test results

A nurse writes a note as a team of doctors and nurses performs a procedure on a coronavirus patient in the Regional Medical Center on May 21 in San Jose, California. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The Department of Health and Human Services moved on Thursday to require that an individual's race, ethnicity, age and sex be submitted to the agency with novel coronavirus test results.

Why it matters: Some cities and states have reported the virus is killing black people at disproportionately high rates. There are gaps in the national picture of how many people of color are affected, since the data has not been a requirement for states to collect or disclose.

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Where the CDC went wrong with its coronavirus response

Photo: Tami Chappell/AFP/Getty Images

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Why it matters: It's been reported that a faster and more organized response from the federal government could have saved thousands of lives.