Fox News host Steve Hilton

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Fox dismisses health experts, declares America is ready to reopen

Health experts say much more widespread diagnostic testing and contact tracing is needed before it's safe to reopen

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to kill more than 1,000 Americans daily, Fox News personalities are dismissing the steps that health experts say are necessary to safely reopen America, insisting there is no need to expand contact tracing or diagnostic testing, and pointing to unreliable antibody test results to say COVID-19 is less dangerous than experts say.

  • As coronavirus deaths have climbed into the tens of thousands, Fox hosts have declared America is ready to reopen

  • More than 1,000 Americans have died daily of COVID-19 since early April. A daily tracker of coronavirus deaths in America from NBC News shows that over 1,000 Americans have died of COVID-19 every day since early April, with the reported death toll topping 2,000 several days and more than 3,000 at least once. The U.S. is on track to soon lose more Americans to COVID-19 in just a few months than in 20 years of the Vietnam War. [NBC News, accessed 4/28/20; The Intercept, 4/27/20]

  • Fox host Sean Hannity: “We don't have to wait until May 1” to reopen most states. 

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    Citation From the April 13, 2020, edition of Fox News' Hannity     

    GOV. GREG ABBOTT: We are working on strategies as we speak with medical experts, with business leaders to find the right strategy so that we can unleash our economy. Remember this, Sean, Texas was the number one state in the United States for job creation last year, we're leading in gross domestic product. Texas is essential for the future of the United States of America economically. America needs Texas to get back to business. 

    SEAN HANNITY (HOST): But I think most states can reopen even sooner than later. We don't have to wait until May 1, but it's going to be more challenging in a city like New York. Now, I think there's a new normal for New York. I think half the workforce should probably work from home if they can.  
     

  • Fox host Steve Hilton called for reopening without adequate levels of coronavirus testing: “We can't hide from it, we must learn to live with it.”

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    Citation From the April 19, 2020, edition of Fox News' The Next Revolution

    STEVE HILTON (HOST): Now we know how widespread the virus is from the survey testing. It's likely that millions of Americans have it. Millions more will get it. You can't quarantine and contact trace them all. So it was a major victory for science and common sense that this was cut from the new White House guidelines. They do not recommend testing everyone, only those who already have symptoms or people with no symptoms in vulnerable populations like nursing homes. But as the president has said, it's state and local leaders who decide how and when to open up, and the problem is a disastrous establishment groupthink has emerged around the extreme version of Dr. Fauci's plan.

    ...

    Just in the last few days, the establishment put up a new roadblock to reopening, tripling the number of tests, quote, “to identify the majority of people who are infected and isolate them from people who are healthy." This establishment groupthink is misinformation. It ignores the latest data. No surprise that big business has bought into it too. Jeff Bezos told Amazon shareholders this week that those who test positive could be quarantined and cared for. Everyone who tests negative could reenter the economy with confidence. What an idiotic statement. We've got enough problems without Jeff Bezos casually throwing out ignorant, unscientific mumbo-jumbo.

    But this is how some state and local leaders are talking too. Gavin Newsom this week said that California will need the widespread ability to test, contact trace, and isolate before relaxing its stay-at-home order. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said the same thing. These people and their public health officials talk to Dr. Fauci.

    Now, I'd like to talk to Dr. Fauci. His advice is hugely consequential. Unfortunately, although we've been asking for a while, he won't talk to us. So tonight, I'm just going to ask the questions anyway and see if we get a reply.

    One: Dr. Fauci, you keep telling us you are led by the science and the data. Why was your data so wrong for so long? Why didn't you commission survey testing like the Stanford team has just carried out to get an accurate picture of the spread and fatality of this virus? Will you carry out nationwide survey testing immediately?

    Two: Based on this new data, do you now accept that it's unnecessary and impractical to identify, isolate, and contact trace everyone who has this virus?

    Three: Will you tell the governments, the media, the big business bosses like Bezos that widespread virus testing of individuals is not necessary for reopening? Will you rule out immunity certificates immediately?

    Four: Do you agree that all deaths matter, not just coronavirus deaths? Will you commit to a study of the long-term public health costs of the shutdown to help inform any future pandemic response in factors like disruptive medical treatment, suicides, rise in opioid and other addictions, and lower life expectancy caused by shutdown-induced poverty.

    Now, the contours of the political battle over all of this became clearer this week. President Trump now owns reopening but with Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont looking at the end of May, de Blasio saying July, Gavin Newsom saying next year, Democrats own the shutdown, along with their allies in the establishment media, the voice of the 37% work-from-home elite.

    By setting up the small business rescue plan and pushing for infrastructure, payroll tax cuts, and bringing manufacturing home, Trump owns the rebuilding. But with Pelosi and Schumer blocking emergency help, Democrats now own the small business collapse and job losses.

    The White House reopening guidelines were mercifully free of the worst excesses of the Fauci doctrine. Free of stupid over-restrictive mandates. But even there there is still room for improvement. You can't really reopen the economy until you reopen schools, for example. And we still face a grave danger of government corona overreach. That is the immediate political battle.

    The threat of this overreach is everywhere, even among conservatives, who should know better. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott put this man, Mark McClellan, on his reopen tax force. He is the co-author, along with Scott Gottlieb, of a reopening plan that is a monstrous technocratic nightmare. And look at this beauty from former Romney advisers Lanhee Chen and Avik Roy. This is a real quote. “Those wishing to engage in air and Amtrak travel should be required to participate in a certified contract tracing app and demonstrate at check-in that they have tested negative." Insane!

    Do not let them expand the bossy, petty, busybody bureaucratic state on the back of this crisis. We now know finally, thanks to the Stanford research, just how widespread this virus is. We can't hide from it, we must learn to live with it. Until we get a vaccine, a cure, of course, protect the vulnerable, but most people who get it don't even know they've had it. All these complicated technocratic schemes for reopening and endless testing are a trap.

  • Fox host Laura Ingraham: “If we wait for Dr. Fauci's seal of approval to reopen America, we may not have an America to reopen.”

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    Citation From the April 23, 2020 edition of Fox News' The Ingraham Angle

    LAURA INGRAHAM (HOST): If we wait for Dr. Fauci's seal of approval to reopen America, we may not have an America to reopen. At least not one we recognize. 

  • Health experts say massive contact tracing of coronavirus cases needs to be in place before America can safely reopen

  • NBC News: Health experts say both testing and contact tracing needs to be hugely scaled up to even partially reopen the economy.

  • Before stay-at-home restrictions can be loosened and states and cities can begin the fragile process of emerging from isolation, public health experts warn that more people must be tested and then isolated through contact tracing to further diminish the virus's spread, while tracking who is healthy enough to go out.

    ...

    Crystal Watson, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and one of the lead authors of the report, told NBC News on Friday that public health departments of states and territories should be the ones determining how large of a contact tracing workforce will be needed and where it should be focused. And those states, such as New York and Massachusetts, with larger numbers of COVID-19 cases, will need to scale up accordingly.

    Public health officials recognize that testing for the coronavirus has been woefully inadequate, and some public health experts have said that testing must be at least doubled or tripled from its current levels to allow for even a partial reopening of America's economy.

    Watson said that those discussions for contact tracing need to happen and be implemented first before the reopening of the larger economy. But President Donald Trump has been pressing states with lower cases of the virus to reconsider reopening sooner, and on Thursday unveiled federal guidelines for “the next front in our war, which is called opening up America again.”

    “I do think we need to buckle down. Right now, our attention is all over the place,” Watson said. “If we put concerted effort into building [contact tracing] capacity for states, that is what allows us to transition to the next phase to reopen our economy. Without that, we're flying blind.” [NBC News, 4/16/20]

  • A bipartisan group of 16 health experts wrote to Congress explaining that at least 180,000 contact tracers are necessary to safely reopen the economy.

  • A group of leading health experts on Monday sent a letter to Congress calling for $46.5 billion to expand contact tracing and isolation of infected people in order to safely reopen the economy. 

    “We are writing to propose Congress take swift action in upcoming legislation to give states the funding necessary to scale up our nation’s contact tracing ability and support voluntary self-isolation of infected and exposed individuals,” write the 16 health experts, who include former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb and former acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Andy Slavitt. “This is fundamental to our ability to begin to reopen our economy while continuing to safeguard American lives.”

    The letter asks for $12 billion to hire 180,000 new workers who would conduct contact tracing, meaning interviewing infected people to find out who they have been in contact with and then notifying those people so they can self-isolate for 14 days. The experts say this is important until a vaccine is developed.

    The experts who have signed onto the letter come from both sides of the aisle.

    Gottlieb served under President Trump and Slavitt under President Obama. Additional signers include former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.); Mark McClellan, who was head of FDA and CMS under President George W. Bush; Atul Gawande, a prominent health expert and CEO of a joint health venture from Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan Chase; and Tom Inglesby, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. [The Hill, 4/27/20]

  • Epidemiologist Keren Landman: “Contact tracing can feel like drudgery, but in an outbreak, it’s vital to public health.”

  • The country will need to implement a “robust and comprehensive system” of contact tracing to return Americans to work, reopen schools and ease social distancing guidelines, Johns Hopkins University experts say.

    Keren Landman, an epidemiologist and journalist, wrote for NPR that she helped a contact tracing effort by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during a mumps outbreak in the Midwest, cold-calling residents potentially exposed to the disease with a scripted list of questions from a cubicle office in Atlanta.

    “Contact tracing can feel like drudgery, but in an outbreak, it’s vital to public health,” Landman wrote. “During events like the current COVID-19 outbreak, it helps make possible early diagnosis and getting care to people who need it.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is increasing the number of people who can contact trace in the U.S. to carry out a “very aggressive” plan to track coroanvirus, CDC Director Robert Redfield told NPR.

    “We are going to need a substantial expansion of public health fieldworkers,” Redfield told NPR.

    In an ideal world, that would mean “100,000 new contact tracers,” Anita Cicero, deputy director at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, told The Verge. [The Sacramento Bee, 4/13/20]

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on contact tracing: “We have to have something in place that is efficient and that we can rely on, and we're not there yet.”

  • The Trump administration's top health officials have voiced support for tracing and tracking symptomatic individuals. Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control, told NPR the plan to begin reopening the country will have to rely on “very aggressive” contact tracing.

    And in an interview with the Associated Press, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, echoed some of the cautions about reopening the country before systems are in place to identify and isolate infected individuals and their contacts.

    “We have to have something in place that is efficient and that we can rely on,” Fauci said, “and we're not there yet.” [ABC News, 4/14/20]

  • Emily Toth Martin, University of Michigan School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, said: “The scale at which [contact tracing] is required far supersedes what is available right now at public health departments.”

  • In lieu of a vaccine, which might not be widely available for at least a year, and mass testing, public health experts say tracking down sick people and those they might have exposed to the virus will be critical in allowing the public to work, shop and gather in groups again without sparking more outbreaks.

    The more restrictions are eased, these experts say, the more contact-tracing workers will be needed.

    “The scale at which that is required far supersedes what is available right now at public health departments,” said Emily Toth Martin, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. [The Wall Street Journal, 4/20/20]

  • Instead of supporting contact tracing, Fox personalities dismissed the need for it, fearmongered, and attacked it as unrealistic

  • Fox contributor Lisa Boothe: “The media,” not lack of testing or contact tracing, is “the biggest barrier we have to reopening.”

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    Citation From the April 26, 2020, edition of Fox News' The Next Revolution

    STEVE HILTON (HOST): All right, Lisa, I just want to start with you. I want to pick up on one of the points that I made at the beginning which was about this groupthink that feels really solidly in place now, which you hear all over the place, which is the only way we can reopen is widespread testing, isolating, contact tracing. What do you make of all of that?

    LISA BOOTHE (FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR): Well, I think as you laid out, the biggest barrier we have to reopening is the media. They're the ones that are driving hysteria around the coronavirus. We've even seen sort of an omission or a downplaying about positive data points, positive information that could potentially lead to the reopening.

    We've also seen zero interest in the media for questioning if -- are these policies even the right ones we should be making? Should we be shutting down right now? What are the consequences of that? Has it led to a positive effect or not? Where will we be if we didn't shut down? They're not raising these kinds of critical questions which I find troubling. 

    Further, we've also seen just a distortion of the facts. I mean, you look at what they've done to President Trump, blaming him for a guy taking fish tank cleaner? And somehow he's responsible for his death for, you know, saying the positive things or at least being hopeful about hydroxychloroquine.

    And we've even seen a tremendous amount of bias going after Governor Kemp for reopening Georgia's economy while ignoring the fact that Governor Polis, a liberal Democrat in Colorado is opening retail May 1st.

    So, the media is a big obstacle in trying to reopen the economy and get the actual truth out there to the American people.

  • Boothe: Demanding contact tracing before reopening represents “a shifting of the goalposts.”

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    Citation From the April 26, 2020, edition of Fox News' The Next Revolution

    LISA BOOTHE (FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR): But I agree with you in questioning, Dr. Fauci. I think as people who work in the media, it's our job to question officials and the information being put out there, and the challenge we're seeing right now is a moving of the goalpost.

    We originally told it is 15 days to slow the spread, so hospitals don't get overwhelmed. That has happened. And now we've seen a shifting of the goalposts where you see people like Dr. Fauci saying we need a double testing, we need to set up contact tracing in order to safely reopen the economy.

    Well, when you look at places like New York City, the hardest hit in America, and potentially 21 percent of the population has already been infected there, how exactly is contact tracing going to work in a city like New York, particularly when you look at the fact that the vast majority of people who get the coronavirus are going to have mild or asymptomatic symptoms?

    So, we should be questioning the information that's being put out there. You're doing your job and you're doing it well.

  • Fox host Laura Ingraham fearmongered about contact tracing and the involvement of the Gates Foundation: “A new threat to our rights on the horizon.”

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    Citation From the April 24, 2020, edition of Fox News' The Ingraham Angle

    LAURA INGRAHAM (HOST): Well, in the weeks since, we've seen a lot of COVID-19 mission creep. Somehow flattening the curve ended up flattening our civil liberties as well. Virginia used the emergency as cover to ram through more anti-gun measures; Michigan and Kentucky, they cracked down on worshippers even when they were social distancing. And California, well, they're funneling money to illegal immigrants.

    But there's a new threat to our rights on the horizon, and it's being pushed by the second wealthiest man in the world. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and the Gates Foundation -- well, they spend hundreds of millions of dollars on research projects around the world, they do a lot of good. And now, it's the largest active funder of the World Health Organization as well, despite the WHO's recent COVID failures and coziness with China.

    Now, according to Gates, the only way to responsibly end these shutdowns [and] stay-at-home orders is for a pretty vast surveillance system to be put in place. Writing in The Washington Post, “The United States can follow Germany's example: Interview everyone who tests positive and use a database to make sure someone follows up with all their contacts.” Well, of course, he insists this will all be voluntary. You choose whether you download the digital tools onto your cell phone.

    He notes that “ome people have proposed allowing phones to detect other phones that are near them by using Bluetooth and emitting sounds that humans can't hear. And if someone tested positive, their phone would send a message to other phones and their owners could go get tested.”

    Well, how this information would be stored, whether it would be stored, and to whom it would be accessible? I mean, it's anyone's guess. We don't know any of this yet. Well, in a perfect world, perhaps this would all work seamlessly with no abuses and no misuse of our medical data.

    But there are profound questions involved here, including the damage that would be done to America if we really can't even open this up until an army, as they call it, of tracers and technology was put in place, if any of this [is] even feasible.

    ...

    Well, The Ingraham Angle is asking some hard questions here. It all sounds fine on the surface. Remember after the 9/11, everything seemed fine. The Patriot Act and a new Homeland Security Department, ramp up searches -- it all seemed perfectly reasonable. Years later, we found out some of that stuff wasn't.

    Well, sometimes we have to ask uncomfortable questions, because we know that there aren't too many in the media who actually will. A few months ago, we were all terrified by models that told us millions of people could die of the coronavirus in the United States, or at least hundreds of thousands.

    Well, fear is a really powerful tool. And is it really true now, as some in the medical establishment are arguing, that it will be unsafe to work or to travel or go to church or a ballgame unless we give up our personal data? Well, I haven't seen the scientific proof for any of that. That's a big leap.

  • Fox Business anchor Melissa Francis: “Something makes me feel a little Big Brother about this.”

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    Citation From the April 23, 2020, edition of Fox News' Outnumbered

    MELISSA FRANCIS (CO-HOST): Washington's governor saying the state will be deploying workers to reach out to coronavirus patients and find out who they may have been in contact with and to warn them to self-quarantine. California is also planning to train and deploy thousands of so-called contact tracers, up to 10,000, according to Gov. Gavin Newsom. And Connecticut's governor says his state is looking into joining New York and New Jersey in a tri-state contact-tracing program. 

    Now, Katie, I wanted to read exactly what these people are doing. And I have to tell you, it gave me a little pause. They said these tracers will interview infected people, identify those with whom they've come into contact, and convince those people to self-quarantine. What are they doing to convince them to self-quarantine, and what happens if you don't? I don't know, I mean, obviously you want to trace where everybody's going to be. And I understand the health importance of this. But then there’s a little -- something makes me feel a little Big Brother about this. What are your thoughts?

  • Jeanine Pirro declared, “Don’t you even think about tracing or tracking or giving me a card. It ain't happening.”

  • Video file

    Citation From the April 18, 2020, edition of Fox News' Justice with Judge Jeanine

    JEANINE PIRRO (HOST): You can't keep Americans down. Born of rebellion and revolution, we are ready to fight. It's in our DNA. We are ready to fight the virus, ready to fight to get back to work, and ready to fight to reopen our country in a safe and strategic way. We get it, we are not stupid. We know to wash our hands, wear a mask, and keep our distance. We know to look for signs of the virus. We look to protect the vulnerable. We appreciate the numbers need to be contained as we go through the three phases of reopening. We know the virus can come back and we will be ever vigilant to make sure a complete reopening is dependent upon the data. Now, we have been sheltered in place for weeks and we are not children. We are capable of using our God-given common sense to protect ourselves and others, but there has to be a balance between physical safety and economic survival.

    ...

    The percentage estimates of death are statistically exaggerated. Enough inflated numbers. Enough of the lockdown. The Declaration of Independence gives us the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Included is the right to survive, live freely, and care for our families. It does not give governors the right to impose nanny states, reduce liberties, and enlarge government power. Now, certainly government has the authority to protect public health during a pandemic. But that power cannot be used to nullify constitutional rights, including the right of peaceful protest when civil liberties are at stake. Enough of these small-time politicians using this pandemic to flex their pathetic muscles in order to gain attention.

    ...

    Americans sheltered in their homes have been patiently watching this unfold, have seen the data and the facts change from day to day. First there were 2.2 million who were supposed to die in the United States, and then it was a million, then it was 500,000, then 250,000. And supposedly mitigation was already taken into account in those numbers. But the models, folks, are just plain wrong. And today, a potentially lower death rate. Now, we understand there are still many sick and dying, and density and hot spots are to be treated differently.

    But what about the rest of us? We want to go back to work, feed our families. And as the governors sit there and pontificate, we are the ones experiencing the reality that for every percentage drop in employment there are 5-10,000 deaths occurring. Depression, suicide, domestic violence, child abuse, resurgence of alcoholism, drug addiction, loss of hope, battered women locked at home with their abusers, abused children not being identified or protected because they cannot go to school. I will wear my mask, my gloves, and I will keep my distance, and I'll do the testing whether to determine if I have COVID or whether I have the antibody. But don't you even think about tracing or tracking or giving me a card. It ain't happening. Your models are out of control. The economy is out of control. China is the one that's out of control.

    We're not going to let you destroy this country or our way of life. We've worked too hard and we fought too long to lose it to a Wuhan -- that's what I said, a Wuhan virus that China knew bout, openly lied about, said it couldn't be transmitted from human-to-human, and intentionally protected Chinese citizens from the virus, but allowed that virus to be released, putting the rest of the world at risk. You want to control people? You politicians want to flex your muscles? Well start working on how you are going to punish, ostracize, alienate, and financially sanction and make China accountable for what they did to us and the rest of the world. But keep your damn hands off us and do something about what got us into this mess in the first place.

  • Steve Hilton: “The idea that you can test them all, trace their contacts, isolate everyone who has the virus, is totally ridiculous.” 

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    Citation From the April 24, 2020, edition of Fox Business' Varney & Co.

    STUART VARNEY (HOST): Protests there in California. We'll get to that in a moment. But first I want to bring in Steve Hilton with what I think is blockbuster, game-changing news. I know you've seen it, Steve. I'll repeat it. A study says in New York state, 3 million people have had the virus. In the New York City, it's 20% of the people. Look, to me, that's a game-changer because it brings down the fatality rate. It is a game-changer. Right?

    STEVE HILTON (HOST, THE NEXT REVOLUTION): It is, Stuart. And it comes on the back of other research that proves the same point. We saw it in the Santa Clara study last week in California. In Los Angeles, California, where it shows that half a million people there have had it, roughly. And it's not just a game-changer in terms of the fatality rate, which shows us that it's much less deadly than previously thought.

    It should also be a game-changer in how and when we open up because what it tells you is that the virus is much more widespread than we knew before, and therefore the groupthink that the establishment are pushing for how to open up, we hear it everywhere. “You can't open up until you have widespread testing and contact tracing." Now, that strategy works if you've got a small number of people and you can follow each case and isolate them and so on. But these results show we have millions of Americans who have the virus. The idea that you can test them all, trace their contacts, isolate everyone who has the virus, is totally ridiculous.

    And that's why we've got to get rid of that groupthink, open up everywhere as quickly as possible while doing a very important thing: protecting the vulnerable. It's still a very dangerous disease for very, very vulnerable people. Those are the ones we should be focused on.

    VARNEY: But it should also reduce the anxiety level, shouldn't it? After all, if millions of us have got it and most of us didn't know we'd got it, it didn't hurt us, surely we have less anxiety about going back into society, right? 

    HILTON: That is such a crucial point. You've got it, Stuart, because even if the decision-makers, the governors and the mayors, took the sensible advice that I think we are putting out there this morning which is that you can safely open up as long as you protect the vulnerable, the problem is people are being scared about this so much by the media and others that they won't want to go out there to go to work, to go shopping, to go out and about, because they think, “Oh, if I catch coronavirus, it's terrible." It's only terrible for a very small group of people. For most people who have had it, they didn't even know they've got it. That's why putting out this information is so important for our chances of opening up as quickly as possible.

    VARNEY: Steve, you're a California guy. You're in California. What's going on? Californians are protesting the lockdown in California? What's going on? 

    HILTON: Yes. What you are seeing here in California is community after community now really resisting the state-wide shutdown. You are seeing it in counties, not all of them rural counties. Certainly, some of them are rural counties, but Ventura County and others, San Luis Obispo, who are saying, “Look, we can't go on like this, it doesn't make sense. In our area, we have very few cases, we have very few people in the hospital. The hospitals are actually empty because we have shut down elective surgery, we have been waiting for this tsunami of coronavirus cases. It hasn't happened. Can we please get back to work." So bit by bit, you are seeing the resistance build. I have to say, the early action by California, particularly in the Bay area, it clearly did work in flattening the curve, but people are saying, “Well, now we have done that, can we please get back to work?"

    VARNEY: In California. How about that. 

    HILTON: That's right.

    VARNEY: Steve, we will be watching your show Sunday night on the Fox News channel. Good stuff. Thank you, Steve Hilton.

  • Hilton: “We don't need the costly, complicated, technocratic nightmare of testing and contact tracing.”

  • Video file

    Citation From the April 26, 2020, edition of Fox News' The Next Revolution

    STEVE HILTON (HOST): We know who's most vulnerable and how to protect them. Twenty percent of U.S. coronavirus deaths are in nursing homes. In some states, it's over half. So, what are our leaders doing about that? They're making it worse.

    For weeks, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, instead of sending nursing home coronavirus patients to the nearly empty Navy hospital ship, sent them back into nursing homes. With that one demented decision, he is responsible for a big part of America's death toll.

    We know who's at risk and how to protect them. Why aren't our leaders surging medical capacity and equipment to our nursing homes and care facilities where the greatest generation is so obviously vulnerable?

    I'll tell you why. Because they're too busy putting sand in skate parks, flying creepy surveillance drones, and worst of all, hiring armies of busy body contact traitors to implement this idiotic, unscientific, reckless establishment groupthink that the only way we can open up is widespread testing, contact tracing, and isolating.

    ...

    MSNBC had a two-hour special this week entirely based on this misinformation. It was literally called “Testing and the Road to Reopening.” Testing, contact tracing, and isolating are great if you're trying to contain an outbreak at the start, where you have hundreds of cases.

    It is totally absurd after a pandemic with millions infected where you'll miss most of them anyway because they have no symptoms. And the absurdity rises to a level of grave danger if you're making this a condition for reopening, knowing that every day you delay will kill more Americans.

    Last week, we set out questions for Dr. Fauci. Well, he may not care about being accountable to you, but our state and local leaders do listen to him. He's the one that started this nonsense, still using an old playbook even though the facts have changed. I beg you, Dr. Fauci, tell the governors, tell the mayors how to protect the vulnerable in our nursing homes who are dying in droves because of inadequate infection control.

    Tell them that if we properly protect the vulnerable, we don't need the costly, complicated, technocratic nightmare of testing and contact tracing. And tell the American people, so terrified by months of misinformation that many are scared to go out even if states do reopen, tell them that most Americans, according to the data, have nothing to fear from coronavirus, that there is no scientific basis, as long as we properly protect the vulnerable, for this shutdown.

    The mindset of the shutdown zealots is the opposite of science. Instead of adapting their thinking in the light of new information, they cling to their old position, despite new information. It's not science, it's ideology. It's not based on data, but dogma.

    Dr. Fauci, tell the world that based on the data, based on the science, we must protect the vulnerable, end the shutdown, and save lives now. Please help us tell Dr. Fauci and the rest of the world by sharing this when we post it tonight.

  • Health experts also say America needs much more widespread diagnostic testing

  • NY Times: Estimates by Harvard Global Health Institute say the U.S. needs to be conducting between 500,000-700,000 tests per day to safely reopen by mid-May.

  • As some governors consider easing social distancing restrictions, new estimates by researchers at Harvard University suggest that the United States cannot safely reopen unless it conducts more than three times the number of coronavirus tests it is currently administering over the next month.

    An average of 146,000 people per day have been tested for the coronavirus nationally so far this month, according to the COVID Tracking Project, which on Friday reported 3.6 million total tests across the country. To reopen the United States by mid-May, the number of tests performed every day should be 500,000 to 700,000, according to the Harvard estimates, which is a daily minimum of about 152 tests per 100,000 people.

    That level of testing is necessary to identify the majority of people who are infected and isolate them from people who are healthy, according to the researchers. About 20 percent of those tested so far were positive for the virus, a rate that the researchers say is too high.

    “If you have a very high positive rate, it means that there are probably a good number of people out there who have the disease who you haven’t tested,” said Ashish Jha, the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute. “You want to drive the positive rate down, because the fundamental element of keeping our economy open is making sure you’re identifying as many infected people as possible and isolating them.”

    The researchers said that expanded testing could reduce the rate to 10 percent, which is the maximum rate recommended by the World Health Organization. In Germany, that number is 7 percent, and in South Korea, it is closer to 3 percent. [The New York Times, 4/17/20]

  • NBC News: Public health experts estimate millions of tests are needed daily or weekly to safely end social distancing restrictions.

  • One of the keys to reopening the economy is having enough tests to diagnose coronavirus infections, with the goal being to quickly identify new cases, isolate them, and track down others who may have been exposed.

    “We’ve done such a good job of social distancing that we expect the rate of immunity to be quite low, which means we would expect there to be, over the course of the next several months, periodic outbreaks of the disease,” said Dr. Christopher Woods, a professor of medicine and infectious diseases at Duke University. “But now we hope to have the diagnostic tools and the public health tools to contain those outbreaks as they occur.”

    Coronavirus testing in the United States has been slow from the start and we’re still only testing roughly a million people a week. Though President Donald Trump said Thursday that we’re doing a “great job” on testing, public health experts have said the number of people tested should be far higher before social distancing eases up — anywhere from 3 million to 30 million a week, to 20 million or more a day. [NBC News, 4/26/20]

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci: “We are not in a situation where we can say we are exactly where we want to be with regard to testing.”

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, says “we are not in a situation where we can say we are exactly where we want to be with regard to testing” capacity for COVID-19 in the U.S.

    Fauci, in a discussion for TIME 100 Talks: Finding Hope on Thursday, says that the U.S. needs to not only increase the number of tests, which is happening as commercial testing companies increase production and the Food and Drug Administration continues to clear tests using different types of samples (including ones from the nose and saliva, as well as blood). But, he says, we also need to make sure tests can actually be run the way they should.

    “We need to significantly ramp up not only the number of tests, but the capacity to perform them, so that you don’t have a situation where you have a test but it can’t be done because there isn’t a swab, or because there isn’t extraction media, or not the right vial,” says Fauci. “I am not overly confident right now at all that we have what it takes to do that. We are doing better, and I think we are going to get there, but we are not there yet.” [Time, 4/23/20]

  • Infectious disease specialist Dr. Tom Moore: “To avoid a second wave of viral spread you have to do what South Korea and other countries, including Germany, have done. You have to have testing in place, and aggressive testing.”

  • Health experts also say the country needs a related and equally robust program to trace the people who have had contact with infected people, to avoid seeing those contacts themselves spread the coronavirus to others.

    There are only about 120,000 samples or so being tested each day for the coronavirus in the United States, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Experts say that millions of people will have to be tested each day, even as many as 20 million to 30 million people, before the nation can return to a semblance of economic normality.

    That is much more than the number of tests even projected to be produced by some major manufacturers by June.

    “To avoid a second wave of viral spread you have to do what South Korea and other countries, including Germany, have done. You have to have testing in place, and aggressive testing,” said Dr. Tom Moore, an infectious disease specialist in Wichita, Kansas.

    “We don’t have to test everybody, but we definitely need to test a significant portion of the community,” said Moore, a former board member of the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

    “This is a Herculean task,” he said. “I don’t know how it’s going to be solved in the immediate future, but it needs to be.”

    Moore and other experts say that a second or third wave of Covid-19 infections could end up killing more people than the first wave, lead to another series of shutdowns of businesses, and ultimately end up doing greater economic damage than has been seen to date from the pandemic. [CNBC, 4/16/20]

  • NPR: Health experts say a safe benchmark for reopening is 10% or less of coronavirus tests returning positive, but U.S. is at about twice that rate.

  • But how much testing is enough?

    There's no exact number to aim for, but here's a guiding principle: You want a low percentage of your tests to come back positive, around 10% or even lower, says William Hanage, an epidemiologist at Harvard.

    That 10% benchmark is based on recommendations from the World Health Organization. Why should positives be low? If a high percentage of tests come back positive, it's clear there's not enough testing to capture all of the infected people in the community. "The lower the percentage of tests you're doing that come back positive, the better," Hanage says.

    Some countries that have done extensive testing have positive rates near this 10% benchmark, or lower. South Korea is "testing so many people that only 3% of them are positive," said Rochelle Walensky, an infectious disease specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital, during a livestream hosted by the medical journal JAMA.

    But, so far the U.S. appears to fall short of this benchmark. Nationally, according to CDC data, about 18% of tests have been positive to date, and 21% were positive in the week ending April 11.

    The U.S. has one of the highest percentages of confirmed cases versus tests conducted globally, according to Our World In Data, an online platform published by Oxford University. [NPR, 4/22/20]

  • But Fox hosts have also dismissed the need for more widespread coronavirus testing, suggesting there has been enough

  • Melissa Francis dismissed a comment by Fauci about the need for more testing, comparing it to wearing a helmet if there's snow on the ground.

  • Video file

    Citation From the April 27, 2020, edition of Fox News' Outnumbered

    MELISSA FRANCIS (CO-HOST AND FOX BUSINESS ANCHOR): Katie, when I listen to the doctor [Anthony Fauci] talk about what needs to be put in place before we can all go back outside, it always reminds me that doctors never recommend you take any risk, you know? I mean they always, they always err on the side of being as cautious as possible. I had a friend growing up whose dad was a neurosurgeon, and he made her wear a helmet walking down the street to the bus when there was any snow out, because he thought she could fall and hit her head. Of course, that was his perspective as a neurosurgeon. But poor kid was like wearing a helmet walking down the street. And to him, that made all kinds of sense. She was willing to take the risk, though. What are your thoughts?

  • Sean Hannity: The U.S. is “leading the world on testing, no country even close. It has tested more of its citizens than any other country -- many countries combined as a matter of fact.”

  • Video file

    Citation From the April 22, 2020, edition of Fox News’ Hannity

    SEAN HANNITY (HOST): What we have now witnessed in the past several months, the media mob will never tell you, Democrats will never acknowledge, it is unprecedented, and so is this administration's response.

    We are now witnessing right before our very eyes what has been and is the greatest medical mobilization this country has ever seen. President Trump vowed to get states all the critical supplies, the resources they need, so many states, most states, most governors were not prepared for anything, no emergency. He's delivered in the promise in a big way.

    Meanwhile, the United States also leading the world on testing, no country even close. It has tested more of its citizens than any other country — many countries combined as a matter of fact.

  • Laura Ingraham mocked the suggestion from experts that millions of tests per day are needed: “Oh, that’s realistic.”

  • Video file

    Citation From the April 21, 2020, edition of Fox News’ The Ingraham Angle

    LAURA INGRAHAM (HOST): Number three, now some governors say that they can't reopen because they don't have enough tests. Well, how many? Well, some experts say we need to do 20 million tests a day — oh, that's realistic. We're doing roughly 120,000 tests a day right now, more than any country on Earth.

    And number four, even if governors secure the tests, they're going to claim that they can't reopen until they have an army of tracers and trackers. Well, how many do they need? One estimate says they need 300,000. Well, how long would that take to set up? Maybe — I don't know, I can't even think of it, how long would that take to train all those people? Are state governors prepared to pay for it all? And why should Montana have to pay the bill for Bill de Bloviater's mistakes?

  • Ingraham urged Trump to push propaganda about his record on testing instead of expanding it.

  • Video file

    Citation From the April 21, 2020, edition of Fox News’ The Ingraham Angle

    LAURA INGRAHAM (HOST): What does the president need to do now? Number one, push back against any efforts to move the goalposts. We've saved the health care system in New York. No one is running short of ventilators. Those were the reasons that we shut down, and they no longer apply.

    Number two, control the narrative on testing and tracking. Keep explaining to the press, to the governors, and to members of Congress that the U.S. government has made testing and tracking progress, and they're going to continue to. Emphasize two key points — our efforts have been world-class, and current testing and tracking efforts are sufficient to allow significant portions of the country to reopen. Plus, they got $25 billion today for testing and tracking, the states did in the new deal.

  • Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy suggested a California antibody study meant there was no need for widespread coronavirus testing in order to ease restrictions. 

  • Video file

    Citation From the April 21, 2020, edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends

    STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): The pandemic testing board has suggested that 20 million tests would be needed per day. That's higher than the estimate that you have given on this program in the past. But also at the same time, you look at the new release that came out of Los Angeles County yesterday. USC did a study and they looked at how many people had the antibody in their bodies to suggest they'd already had it, and it was close to 4% of LA County already has been exposed to it. So the question is do you really need that many tests given the fact that so many people have already been exposed to it?

  • Experts warn tests for coronavirus antibodies are unreliable and shouldn’t be used to guide policy on reopening, determining immunity, or questioning the lethality of COVID-19

  • NY Times: The World Health Organization warned against relying on antibody tests to make policy decisions or to determine immunity.

  • Few scientists ever imagined that these tests would become an instrument of public policy — and many are uncomfortable with the idea. Antibody tests, which show who has been infected, are often inaccurate, recent research suggests, and it is not clear whether a positive result actually signals immunity to the coronavirus.

    On Friday, the World Health Organization warned against relying on these tests for policy decisions. While countries such as Italy have even floated the idea of “immunity passports” for people who test positive, W.H.O. officials noted that it is not known to what extent people carrying antibodies are immune to the virus.

    (The W.H.O. on Saturday backed off an earlier assertion that people with antibodies may not be immune at all.) [The New York Times, 4/26/20]

  • Infectious disease experts told the NY Times antibody tests used in recent surveys were too unreliable.

  • The shortcomings of antibody testing were on vivid display in two other recent surveys, one in Santa Clara County and the other in Los Angeles County.

    Both drew sharp criticism from scientists, who said the tests had a rate of false positives too high to be used in places the virus has left largely untouched and therefore may have few true positives. 

    ...

    “We’re kind of heavily leaning on these tests when they’re not perfect,” said Saskia Popescu, an epidemiologist at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.

    “And we still have a lot of people susceptible, so it’s a dangerous thing to heavily rely on them right now.”

    [Dr. Michael Osterholm, an infectious diseases expert at the University of Minnesota] said an antibody survey, because it provides “historical data” on who was infected, is like a smoke alarm that gives out a report once a month.

    “It doesn’t work very well if you have a fire right now,” he said.

    Diagnostic tests for the virus offer a better snapshot of the current picture, he added, and states should focus on acquiring accurate diagnostic tests that can provide timely data on the rise or fall in the number of infections.

    “That should be the data we use to judge opening or not opening” the economy, Dr. Osterholm said. [The New York Times, 4/26/20]

  • Politico: FDA allowed over 100 types of antibody tests to be sold without reviewing them and is now “dealing with a flood of inaccurate coronavirus antibody tests.”

  • The Food and Drug Administration is dealing with a flood of inaccurate coronavirus antibody tests after it allowed more than 120 manufacturers and labs to bring the tests to market without an agency review.

    The tests, which look for antibodies that indicate whether a person has been exposed to the virus, have been eyed as a tool to help reopen the country by identifying people who may have immunity. Antibody data could also help determine the true extent of the U.S. outbreak by finding cases that were never formally diagnosed.

    Normally, the FDA does its own quality check before allowing tests on the market. Agency leaders have said they tried to create more flexibility for makers of antibody tests to help inform discussions about when people can safely return to work and school, and to identify survivors whose antibody-rich blood could help treat the sick.

    But many of the tests available now aren’t accurate enough for such purposes. Some are giving too many false positive results, which could mislead people into thinking they have already been infected.

    The problem has gotten so bad that the New York City Health Department warned health providers last week against using the tests to determine whether someone is infected with the coronavirus or has developed immunity through exposure.

    Public health experts say the FDA shouldn’t have waived its reviews of antibody tests and are calling on it to crack down. To date, the FDA has granted a formal emergency use authorization, in which it reviews data from manufacturers, to just seven of the tests.

    “We're facing a public health epidemic," David Kessler, who led the FDA under Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton and is now advising former Vice President Joe Biden on the coronavirus, told POLITICO. “If FDA is not looking at validation studies, then FDA is not doing its job."

    Scott Becker, the CEO of the Association of Public Health Laboratories, has criticized the FDA for allowing “crappy” antibody tests onto the market without adequate review. "Ideally they would scrap the current policy and start over, but I don't think that's practical given this crisis,” he said. “The best we can hope for is a rigorous and expansive evaluation." [Politico, 4/27/20]

  • Dr. Greg Poland, director of the Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research Group, expressed concern about inaccurate antibody tests being used.

  • “There’s even more concern there. They’ve had even less regulatory control," said Dr. Greg Poland, director of the Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research Group. “How are manufacturers testing these? Are they rushing these out prematurely? That economic motive is what requires regulatory oversight."

    “Nobody’s done what I would call a thorough head-to-head comparison with a validated gold standard," Poland said. “I’m actually surprised that some of these kits can be used clinically."

    Poland said he's concerned about the tests giving false positives.

    “One of the things I’m afraid of is that people are going to go to drive-thru testing who have not had (the) disease and are going to be told that they’re protected" because the test shows they have antibodies. “And they’re going to act and react according to that misinformation. That’s a problem." [USA Today, 4/24/20]

  • Other health experts shared warnings with ABC News about relying on the antibody tests.

  • Amid the haste to develop antibody testing, we may be setting ourselves up for disaster.

    “Testing is not a panacea. Testing is a tool and no test is perfect. What people are looking for does not exist," said Dr. Alan Wells, executive vice chairman of the section of Laboratory Medicine at University of Pittsburgh Medicine.

    Some scientists, however, say that beyond companies knowingly scamming consumers, even the antibody tests manufactured by larger companies with fairly reputable histories overpromise and underdeliver.

    “There is just so much variety in these assays out there, and we too have seen some tests to have a very high level of false positive results using samples that were collected prior to the outbreak," said Eliza Theel, Ph.D., director of Mayo Clinic Infectious Diseases Serology laboratory testing.

    Another major issue experts cite is the lack of standardized validation protocols. "You can cherry pick what your controls are," said Wells.

    Validating tests with the right samples is essential in order to minimize the potential of false positives and negatives.

    “False positive means that the antibody reaction detected an antibody, but from some other coronavirus or some other related infection," according to Dave Koch, Ph.D., director of clinical chemistry, toxicology and point-of-care testing at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. “There is also possibility of a false negative: I actually have the virus but the antibody hasn't shown up yet or hasn't gotten to the detection limits in the bloodstream yet." [ABC News, 4/26/20]

  • WSJ: Health experts warn the presence of antibodies doesn’t confer immunity to coronavirus.

  • Q: If I have antibodies to the virus that causes Covid-19, does that mean I’m protected from getting it again? If so, for how long?

    A: We don’t know. “Just because people have an antibody response to this virus does not mean that they are protected against being reinfected,” says [Dr. David Walt, professor of pathology at Harvard Medical School].

    Marc Jenkins, director of the Center for Immunology at the University of Minnesota Medical School, says the assumption is that the presence of antibodies provides some level of protection and could last a few years. The question is, how many antibodies do you need? Different people make different amounts of antibodies based on their genetics and other factors, including how intense their viral infection was. It is possible that people with milder infections—or who are asymptomatic—may not develop as many antibodies and may have less protection from the next infection, he says.

    “Most likely, people who have recovered from Covid-19 with antibodies in their bloodstream will be immune for months or one to two years,” says David Reich, president of Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. “But this is unknown currently, and we have to study that over time.”

    Meanwhile, some experts say it’s possible that people with antibodies may not be immune. Gregory Storch, a professor of pediatrics at Washington University in St. Louis, says for most viruses, the presence of antibodies corresponds to immunity, but there are exceptions, such as HIV and hepatitis C. “People may have antibodies in their blood at the same time they are actively infected with those viruses,” he says. With respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a common respiratory virus in babies, children can have an antibody response but still become infected a second time, he says. [The Wall Street Journal, 4/23/20]

  • Kelly Wroblewski, director of infectious disease programs at the Association of Public Health Laboratories: “Having many inaccurate tests is worse than having no tests at all.”

  • The emergence of dozens of tests never reviewed by the FDA — many of which are being aggressively marketed — could confuse doctors, hospitals, employers and consumers clamoring for the products, according to critics who say the agency’s oversight of the tests has been lax. The questions are taking on special importance as federal and state officials debate strategies, including using serological testing, to help determine when they can end state and local lockdowns.

    “A test is only as good as its results,” said Kelly Wroblewski, director of infectious disease programs at the Association of Public Health Laboratories, which has been urging the FDA to take a closer look at the unapproved tests. “Having many inaccurate tests is worse than having no tests at all.” [The Washington Post, 4/19/20]

  • Dr. Carl Bergstrom, University of Washington infectious disease expert, said efforts to spin antibody test surveys to suggest COVID-19 is less lethal “are irresponsible.”

  • The results in New York State offer an early glimpse of the promise and pitfalls of widespread antibody testing.

    Public health officials tested 3,000 residents at grocery stores and big-box retailers throughout the state. In New York City, about 21 percent of participants were found to carry coronavirus antibodies.

    The rate was about 17 percent on Long Island, nearly 12 percent in Westchester County and Rockland County, and less than 4 percent in the rest of the state.

    New York’s survey was reasonably well designed and the results largely credible, experts said. But unlike Mr. Cuomo, few saw happy news in the numbers.

    “I just don’t see any way to put a silver lining on any of these results,” said Carl Bergstrom, an infectious diseases expert at the University of Washington in Seattle. “I think that the efforts to spin it that way are irresponsible.”

    If one in five residents in hard-hit New York City has been exposed to the virus, he and others said, then four in five are still vulnerable — and that underscores how far we are from the pandemic’s end.

    New York’s results suggested a death rate of between 0.5 and 1 percent, figures some conservative commentators have argued are too low to justify statewide lockdowns.

    Public health experts like Dr. Bergstrom took the opposite view. “If the mortality rate is 1 percent, we’re looking at 2 million deaths, which is unprecedented in our nation’s history and unimaginable,” he said.

    “Anyone talking about the death rate as ‘only 1 percent and so we should not worry about it’ has an extraordinarily callous view.”

    The New York survey confirms what experts have long believed: that because of the lack of tests, the state has undercounted the true number of infections by about a factor of 10.

    Reopening society with such a huge vulnerable population, and without careful consideration, could be disastrous, allowing the virus to sweep through the country, Dr. Bergstrom and others said. [The New York Times, 4/26/20]

  • Yet Fox personalities have said these unreliable antibody tests show coronavirus is less dangerous than believed

  • Fox host Tucker Carlson: “In New York, that rate went from 7.4%, which is devastating to .5% which is not.”

  • Video file

    Citation From the April 28, 2020, edition of Fox News' Tucker Carlson Tonight 

    TUCKER CARLSON (HOST): So on last night's show, and on many shows before that, we did our best to walk you through the latest numbers on how widely the coronavirus is spreading in this country. We told you what researchers are finding in state after state. As more Americans get tested for this disease we learned that a far higher percentage of the population has been infected with it than we thought. This new knowledge has radically changed our understanding of how deadly the coronavirus is. 

    For example health officials once estimated that a little over 1.5% of residents of New York state have been it infected with the virus. Broader antibody testing revealed a number many, many times higher than that. In fact, close to 15% have been infected. By definition, these new facts changed the death rate. In New York, that rate went from 7.4%, which is devastating to .5% which is not. This new science is welcome news.  Every elected official in America should be celebrating it, but many are not. Some deeply resent hearing anything about this. 

  • Fox chief breaking news correspondent Trace Gallagher: Antibody study shows death rate for COVID-19 is “about 0.1%, drastically lower than previous estimates.”

  • Video file

    Citation From the April 24, 2020, edition of Fox News' Tucker Carlson Tonight

    TRACE GALLAGHER (FOX NEWS CHIEF BREAKING NEWS CORRESPONDENT): The number of total cases in the U.S. is moving closer to the million mark with 916,000 confirmed cases, more than 51,000 people in the U.S. have died from COVID-19. Though the death toll today is down fairly significantly from yesterday.

    Meantime, we have another antibody study this time from Miami Dade County in Florida, and it very much mirrors the studies in New York and California showing that about 6% of the population or 165,000 Miami Dade residents have already had coronavirus, that is 16 times the number of confirmed cases.

    And like California and New York, it puts the fatality rate at about 0.1%, drastically lower than previous estimates.

  • Fox medical contributor Dr. Marc Siegel: “This means that the hospitalization rate and the death rate, especially, is way much lower than what we thought it was.”

  • Video file

    Citation From the April 24, 2020, edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom

    SANDRA SMITH (CO-ANCHOR): That was New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo during his briefing yesterday revealing preliminary results from that highly anticipated coronavirus antibody study. Three thousand people were randomly tested, around 2.7 million residents could have carried the virus. Dr. Marc Siegel is a professor of medicine at NYU Langone Health and a Fox News contributor. Doctor, good morning to you. As always, so many questions, but this antibody study was so important because you have been saying all along, as other medical experts have, that we need to know who's been walking around with this and who is able to effectively fight it off.

    DR. MARC SIEGEL (FOX NEWS MEDICAL CONTRIBUTOR): You know Sandra, when I saw the results out of the studies in California that show 4% of the population in counties that have much less COVID-19 than we do, I thought, I wonder what’s the New York study going to show. Even more shocking is what we found in New York City here. In the study the governor is talking about, 21% of the people surveyed in New York City have antibodies. Twenty-one percent, which would project out to about 1.7 million people. Here's the message here. This virus, for most people, predominant amount of people, is asymptomatic or has mild symptoms that are confused with something else. This means that the hospitalization rate and the death rate, especially, is way much lower than what we thought it was. Much lower. A wildly contagious virus that often presents without symptoms. That’s the message here.

    I believe that this initial survey result is probably accurate and tells us that we’re building up, we’re starting to build up some immunity in the population in the epicenter of New York.

  • Dr. Mehmet Oz on Fox & Friends: “You've got a mortality that's more like half percent versus what we had been facing.”

  • Video file

    Citation From the April 24, 2020, edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends

    AINSLEY EARHARDT (CO-HOST): Dr. Oz, a lot of people want antibody tests so that we can all get back to work. They did some random testing, grocery stores and shopping centers, or shopping locations in New York, and they found one in five New Yorkers had had it at some point, and determined it’s not as deadly as we first thought, is that right? 

    DR. MEHMET OZ: Yeah, stunning information. So New York state has a 14% infection rate but the city is 21% of us have had it. Now, here’s the thing -- that’s about 10 times more, the New York state number, than confirmed COVID-19 cases. So that means that, if you do the math, and Gov. Cuomo talked about this yesterday, then you’ve got a mortality that's more like half percent versus what we had been facing. 

    Now, I want to emphasize, they really did it right in New York. They worked very carefully with federal government, they used antibody testing we believe, so the 10 times higher incidents of being exposed to the virus compared to confirmed testing is not as great as it was, for example, in California where we are talking 50 times or 80 times more. But, this is a really accurate number we believe. And so if that's true, then it turns out that you can actually start to see that a lot of folks do pretty well with this virus, although it’s a horrible virus that kills and really cripples a lot of folks. Some people seem to do OK with it. Now, do they have no symptoms, do they just have minor symptoms that they didn’t recognize are related to COVID? We don't know, but clearly being vulnerable seems to be a big issue. We’ve learned that, as you know, just looking at people getting admitted to hospitals. Ninety percent of admissions have at least one comorbidity and a major study yesterday from big New York hospital system, that same number, 88% had two or more comorbidity conditions. So they were overweight, or hypertensive, or they have diabetes. So there's actually a fair amount that your body brings to this virus. 

    BRIAN KILMEADE (CO-HOST): Right, and with 94% of the people who -- who died from this had underlying conditions and if only .5% in this -- when you blow up these numbers, only .5% lose their lives with this. You wonder if maybe Sweden had the better model of take the vulnerable and protect them, and let everybody else stay at work. You wonder when we analyze this if the numbers are correct if that would have been a better thing.

  • Sean Hannity: “If those numbers hold and are accurate, the coronavirus death rate in New York would be ... 0.58%.”

  • Video file

    Citation From the April 23, 2020, edition of Fox News' Hannity

    SEAN HANNITY (HOST): Tonight the epicenter [of] coronavirus continuing to show signs of improvement. We won't be happy until there are zero death, but the number of hospitalized patients down for the 10th day in a row, intubation decrease now 11 days in a row, the death rate is at the lowest point since in a month. This comes as antibody testing now underway in New York.

    According to the first statewide study, researchers say -- it might change some, but these numbers are interesting. They now believe as per New York and the governor and others that every 14%, nearly 14% of the population in New York has been infected with the coronavirus. Infection rate that high.

    New York City, 21% of those tested had antibodies for this virus, which means that if those numbers hold and are accurate, the coronavirus death rate in New York would be 50 -- 0.58% and the city 0.87%. This is -- remember, that at some points they were saying, oh, might be as high as 3.4%. Remember that? Those are the projections.

  • Fox Business host Lou Dobbs: New York antibody study means “the death rate appears to be 0.5%.”

  • Video file

    Citation From the April 23, 2020, edition of Fox Business' Lou Dobbs Tonight

    LOU DOBBS (HOST): Breaking news from the nation's hottest hot spot for the Wuhan virus, New York. Gov. Andrew Cuomo reporting another decline in deaths over the past 24 hours saying a randomized test, by the way, found 14% of all New Yorkers were infected and have antibodies in their systems.

    Cuomo says that means as many as 2.7 million people in New York have been infected and the death rate appears to be 0.5%. That would be five times the level of influenza.

    These numbers come as a new study has also found that 94% of patients hospitalized in New York City because of the contagion had an underlying disease -- 94% of them -- including such things as hypertension or obesity. That study also found the median age of the patients to be 63 years of age.