At least one percent of the population carries the virus, Acton had said at a press conference on Thursday. “We have 11.7 million people. So the math is over 100,000. So that just gives you a sense of how this virus spreads and is spreading quickly.” Her comment quickly went viral, so to speak.
By Friday, however, she was walking that back, saying that she was only “guesstimating” the numbers. The Ohio Department of Health has confirmed only 13 cases in the state so far, with 159 more awaiting test results and 50 confirmed negatives. Another 333 people are being monitored.
The ODH doubled down on support for Dr. Acton even so, describing her as “smart, calm, cool and collected.” She also received a glowing write-up in the Columbus Post-Dispatch as a “calming” voice of reason.
That left some members of the general public scratching their heads and pointing out that her “guesstimating” math actually fueled panic and fear.
Others noted that Acton’s math was especially egregious, given that there have been 127,000 total confirmed cases of the virus in the entire world so far.
At the time of her remarks, only five Ohioans had tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
“The coronavirus is already all over the state of Ohio,” Governor Mike DeWine said on Friday, echoing the doctor’s comments from the day before, even as Acton informed the public that the number of confirmed cases has risen to thirteen.
Testing for the virus has become somewhat of an obsession in the government, with the House Democrats making it a key plank of their coronavirus relief bill to provide free tests for anyone who wants them. Though President Donald Trump continues to insist that only those who exhibit the symptoms should bother with testing, so as not to overwhelm the system, the White House did take several steps on Friday to boost the number of test kits available.
Trump declared a national emergency over the coronavirus on Friday, after the World Health Organization officially recognized the outbreak as a pandemic. There have been over 1,800 confirmed cases of covid-19 in the US, of which 42 have been fatal.
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