The number of Americans infected with the new coronavirus continues to grow, with John Hopkins University reporting over 14,000 cases and 205 deaths as of Friday morning.
However, Dr. Deborah Birx has warned people not to draw the wrong conclusions.
No reason to panic
Birx serves as the White House Coronavirus Task Force response coordinator, and she cautioned against allowing the numbers to cause panic.
“We’ve now moved into platforms that can run basically tens of thousands of tests per day,” she told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday.
“There were individuals who had been tested, who hadn’t had their specimen run because of the slow throughput,” she explained. “It’s now in a high-speed platform. So, we will see the number of people diagnosed dramatically increase over the next four to five days.”
“I know some of you will use that to raise an alarm that we are worse than Italy because of our slope of our curve,” she added, speaking to media members regarding how they cover the news.
“To every American out there: It will be five to six days’ worth of tests being run in 24 to 48 hours, so our curves will not be stable until sometime next week,” Birx said.
Possible treatment in the works
Some potential good news also emerged this week in the form of a study that suggests there may be a coronavirus treatment. While many have focused on the development of a vaccine, health experts say a treatment will likely be available sooner than a vaccine, CNBC reported.
Gregory Rigano is an adviser to the Stanford University School of Medicine, and on Wednesday he told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson about a French study that indicates an anti-malaria medication called chloroquine has efficacy against the disease.
“I’m here to report that as of this morning, about 5 o’clock this morning, a well-controlled peer-reviewed study carried out by the most eminent infectious disease specialist in the world — Didier Raoult, MD, PhD — out of the south of France, in which he enrolled 40 patients, again, a well-controlled peer-review study, that showed a 100 percent cure rate against coronavirus,” Rigano told Carlson.
“In fact to be able to cure a virus was said to be mathematically impossible, and the first company that did it was a small biotech called Pharmacet that was acquired by Gilead Sciences in a cure for hepatitis C. What we’re here to announce is a second cure to a virus of all time.”
Reuters reported on Thursday that pharmaceutical giant Bayer AG is donating 3 million tablets of the drug Resochin to the U.S. government. Chloroquine is Resochin’s active ingredient.