Dr. Drew: Stop the Press to Stop Coronavirus Panic

At Real Clear Politics, Coronavirus Panic Must Stop, Press Needs to Be Held Accountable for Hurting People.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Dr.Drew Pinsky talks with CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith about coronavirus: “The panic must stop. And the press, they really somehow need to be held accountable because they are hurting people.”

CBS NEWS: “So you’ve seen pandemics over the decades, how does this one compare with everything?”

DR. DREW: “A bad flu season is 80,000 dead, we’ve got about 18,000 dead from influenza this year, we have a hundred from corona. Which should you be worried about influenza or Corona? A hundred versus 18,000? It’s not a trick question. And look, everything that’s going on with the New York cleaning the subways and everyone using Clorox wipes and get your flu shot, which should be the other message, that’s good. That’s a good thing, so I have no problem with the behaviors. What I have a problem with is the panic and the fact that businesses are getting destroyed that people’s lives are being upended, not by the virus, but by the panic. The panic must stop. And the press, they really somehow need to be held accountable because they are hurting people.”

CBS NEWS: “So, where do you think the panic started? Besides the press, like what was the impetus in terms of mass hysteria?”

DR. DREW: “I saw it, there’s a footage of me on a show called The Daily Blast Live a month ago, going ‘shouldn’t we be scared about this?’ and me going ‘no, there’s gonna be as potential for panic here, shut up everybody, stop talking about it, I could see the panic brewing, and I could just see it the way the innuendo and the every opportunity for drama by the press was twisted in that direction. Let me give you an example: so the World Health Organization is out now saying the fatality rate from the virus is 3.4%, right? Every publication from the WHO says 3.4% and we expect it to fall dramatically once we understand the full extent of the illness. No one ever reports the actual statement. We go 3.4% that’s 10 times more than the, whatever five times more than the flu virus and yeah it’s gonna be a little more [than the] flu probably. Still not a bad flu season.”

CBS NEWS: “Right, we’re gonna hear about more cases, more people died.”

DR. DREW: “There are probably several people in this building that probably have it and don’t know it.”

CBS NEWS: “Right, well it was also just the process of letting the public know, the stock market, the number of tests that were available, there was so much happening, I think people were freaking out as a result of that.”

DR. DREW: “I think there was it was a concerted effort by the press to capture your eyes and in doing so they did it by inducing panic. There’s, listen, the CDC and the WHO, they know what they are doing, they contain pandemics, that’s how they know how to do it, they’re doing an amazing job.”

CBS NEWS: “What about the global implications of this because we were talking off-camera about Italy, there’s China as well, there’s some little outbreaks where you should avoid.

DR. DREW: “There are, I would look out where there flus out breaking bad to. I ended up getting the bird flu, I got H1N1 and it was horrible. It was no fun. … There’s certain things having been a physician for almost forty years, there are certain things I just know … and there’s certain things I just know by virtue of all the experience I’ve had and so when I saw this one coming, the corona, I thought I know how this is gonna go, I see kind of what it is and then I saw the excessive reaction the press, so I have to respond and then people, the weird part on social media towards me as people are angry with me, angry with me for trying to get them to see reality and calm down.”

Then there are wise words from Czech Microbiologist Dr Václava Adámková , posted at Lubos Motl’s website Reference Frame Czech microbiologist on the Covid panic  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Well, I would criticize them for purposefully and uselessly manipulating with the populace of the laymen. And the tone in which the news are being presented – there is one case here… Well, there’s one case here, five cases a day or eight cases a day today. It’s 8 cases. During that time, much more serious infectious diseases, viral or bacterial ones, actually kill many more people. And that’s something that is not included in the context of that information. So the announcements seem populist, one-sided, and they resemble a politician’s campaign before the elections when the politician focuses on one topic and he escalates it.

I am not quite a virologist, closer to a bacteriologist. Anyway, coronaviruses have been with us from the beginning. It is a large group of viruses that cause respiratory diseases, runny nose, cough, exceptionally diseases of the lower respiratory tract. But when we statistically test the coronaviruses every year, they cause up to 18% of respiratory infections. No one talks about it. These viruses attack all age groups, from babies to seniors. That’s how things work. Sometimes they appear along with other viruses, most often with influenza viruses. The coronaviruses have always been here, are here, and will be here. When the virus mutates, merges the genes with something, that’s how Nature and biology works. They may do whatever seems good in their context. We see it in flu, too.

I don’t really believe that the Wuhan virus differs. If we look at it from the healthcare perspective, according to symptoms – Covid is mostly about mild symptoms in the upper respiratory tract, especially among young and not immunocompromised people. And even the fatalities described in the context of this virus are compatible with the biology of this virus. Even the other coronaviruses may kill a weakened individual. But the available mortality numbers, let’s accept them, simply describe the reality. In comparison with SARS and MERS, Covid has a much lower fatality rate. Nevertheless, SARS and MERS didn’t get this much attention.

Some 3 months ago, the WHO was just warning about the infectious disease, most likely a viral and not bacterial one, that may quickly spread due to the widespread travelling. The main WHO virologist just made this speculation. It’s interesting that this has happened. It may easily spread, in theory. However, in practice, the propagation of the news occurs much more quickly than the propagation of the virus itself. It is spreading like a computer virus, not a biological virus, because the numbers of infected ones remain low. Around 80,000 Chinese is a tiny fraction of China’s 1.4 billion people. If they published how many people have flu or tuberculosis at the same moment, the numbers would be vastly higher. So I think it is like the propagation of a Trojan horse or a computer virus.


  1. Wim Röst · March 10, 2020

    1. No one in the whole population has antibodies against this Corona virus: 50-70% infected is not impossible, about 5 times the influenza percentage
    2. The virus is very contageous
    3. A very high percentage of infected needs intensive care: 5%: beds, oxygen provisions and personnel are not available
    4. Infections happen in a very short time
    5. Medical personel easily gets sick and will be out of roulation during a long time
    6. For many not intensive care people this is not a normal flu or cold: much more severe: for another 15% of the infected (this is a well known fact but I received information about the severeness of this disease from nearby as well: a very very hard sickness to experience)

    I am not gonna shake hands with Dr. Drew and Dr Václava Adámková. When people don’t take this disease serious a real disaster will happen. And the virus will stay with us (in all kind of new variations) in the coming years. We should eliminate this virus completely like China did. A war against this virus is what is needed. And there is no time for downplaying the danger. We should act now: ask people in Wuhan and now in Italy where action was too late.

    Millions of people would have been better off when we would have been able to eliminate HIV at the time it was still in the initial stage. When a disease is able to spread it will spread disaster.

    We should take care not to downplay the risks of this kind of diseases.


    • Ron Clutz · March 10, 2020

      As Drew said, behaving prudently is all to the good, it is the panic that must be avoided since it produces more destruction than than the virus itself. Talk of war is counter productive.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wim Röst · March 11, 2020

    Ron:”it is the panic that must be avoided”

    WR: I agree that panic must be avoided. But that is not the same as downplaying a real threat. In Italy they did not want panic. Now they have the virus everywhere and the medical system is overwhelmed. In Europe we did not stop the transport of people from Italy all over Europe: now we have the virus everywhere in Europe and it is even exported to Africa and Latin America. In the US no test kits were bought in other countries and now the virus is [nearly] everywhere. When there is a real threat you must do everything to avoid the threat and when you can do so without creating panic than that is the best. But if the downplaying of the threat of the virus results in government leaders who think ‘it is just a normal flu’ and keep busy with all kind of other things WITHOUT ACTING against the virus this is bringing close a worst case scenario.

    In our democratic system acting happens very slow. There are many rules and everyone wants his say while nobody knows. Downplaying a real threat is very dangerous: in such a situation: the virus will continue to spread. One or two weeks of delay with an epidemic is a risk no one can take. We will get real panic when there are some hundreds of thousands waiting outside hospitals and asking for oxygen while there is not and no beds nor care either. Spreading of a virus goes exponentional when no straight measures are taken, the numbers show.


    • Ron Clutz · March 11, 2020

      Wim, Dr.Drew’s point is that mass media no longer serves as a conduit for responsible scientific and medical experts to communicate with the public. People need information and guidelines without a political or commercial agenda. Today unfortunately, (certainly in North America) the media leads with feelings not facts, and sensationalizes everything for maximum impact and ratings. To the point that anyone with critical intelligence can’t take anything printed or broadcast at face value. That is dangerous, because as you say, we do need to know from the experts (not from illiterate journalists) what to think and to do.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Wim Röst · March 11, 2020

    Dr. Drew: “We go 3.4% that’s 10 times more than the, whatever five times more than the flu virus and yeah it’s gonna be a little more [than the] flu probably. Still not a bad flu season.”

    WR: Please read this: Italy with (now) only 10.000 cases (and not tenths of millions): https://nofrakkingconsensus.com/2020/03/11/italys-hospital-meltdown/

    No place in the hospitals for normal sicknesses, not for people over 65 or people and for younger patients with additional health issues. Exhausted medical personnel etc. And this is just a simple beginning. Merkel – who does not know nothing about the implications either – “authorities believed 60-70% of the population would eventually get infected by the novel coronavirus” and “it was important not to overburden the health system”. 60 to 70% in Germany https://edition.cnn.com/world/live-news/coronavirus-outbreak-03-11-20-intl-hnk/index.html

    For 83 million people (Germany) that means between 50 and 58 million infected people in some months time. 20% needs a hospital: 10-12 million people. A quarter of them need intensive care: 2.5 to 3.0 million, all in the same months. Does Merkel knows what she is talking about? And Dr. Drew?:”Still not a bad flu season”.

    In the Netherlands (17 million people) 200 intensive care beds are available for victims of the virus. At the same scale for Germany 1000 beds: for 2.5 to 3.0 million people needing intensive care, more or less on the same moment. Are there 2.5 million oxygen machines in Germany?

    China was able to get the virus out. And in our democratic societies, what are our leaders telling? 60-70% will get it.

    I am not in panic. But I can read and I can make some simple calculations based on the facts that should have been well known.


    • Ron Clutz · March 11, 2020

      Thanks for the update on Italy. It looks like people there will be attentive to public health officials coping with the outbreak. As will I be listening and complying with what is said and published directly by our contagious disease experts here in Quebec and Canada. In the 2003 SARS outbreak Canada was second to China in terms of numbers infected and a lot was learned. At the same time, I will tune out mass media exaggerations and speculations which have all the credibility of a rumor mill. WHO, CDC and the like can be trusted, the others not so much.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Holly · April 16, 2020

    Obvious by now that WHO cannot be trusted & if you believe that China has gotten rid of COVID-19 entirely from their country because they say so, you must believe in the Tooth Fairy!


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