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Fear-mongering: Ohio Governor Said 100K Are ‘Walking Around’ With Coronavirus In The State; The Health Official Behind The Number Now Says She Was ‘Guesstimating’

  • Ohio’s governor said Friday that 100,000 state residents could be “walking around” with coronavirus, but the health official who came up with that alarming figure now says she was “guesstimating.” 
  • Dr. Amy Acton, the director of the Ohio Department of Health, went viral on Thursday after she said that 1% of the Ohio population — or more than 100,000 — could have coronavirus. 
  • She clarified her remarks on Friday, saying that she is “not saying there are absolutely” 100,000 in Ohio carrying the virus. 

A top Ohio health department official who said Thursday that 100,000 or more people in the state currently have coronavirus now says that she was “guesstimating” to arrive at the alarming number.

“I am not saying there are absolutely for certain 100,000 people,” Dr. Amy Acton, the director of the Ohio Department of Health, said at a press conference on Friday. “I’m saying I’m guesstimating. If I’m guesstimating community spread, that’s my best number.”

Acton raised eyebrows on Thursday when she said that because there is community spread of coronavirus in Ohio, at least one percent of residents in the state are likely to have the virus.

“Just the fact of community spread says at least one percent, at the very least one percent of our population, is carrying this virus in Ohio today. We have 11.7 million people, so the math is over 100,000,” Acton said Thursday.

Community spread occurs when individuals become infected with a disease without having traveled to places with known outbreaks, or having contact with someone known to carry a virus.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine amplified Acton’s estimate on Friday, saying on Twitter that it is likely that 100,000 residents in the state are “walking around” with coronavirus. He also cited Acton’s claims in an interview on Fox News.

But some health experts questioned Acton’s numbers.

One reason to doubt that Ohio has 100,000 undetected cases of coronavirus is that there have been no deaths recorded in the state so far.

Dr. Trevor Bedford, a physician at the vaccine and infectious disease division of Fred Hutch, noted that when there were around 100,000 infections in Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak, there were 1,000 severe cases in the city, and 300 deaths.

“Thus, given the severity of this disease I don’t see how it’s possible to reach 100k infections and not notice it in deaths and hospitalizations,” Bedford wrote on Twitter, adding that he “very respectfully disagree[d]” with Acton’s estimate.

In the U.S., there are more than 1,700 confirmed cases, and 41 people have died. Ohio had five confirmed cases of coronavirus as of Thursday, and 14 as of Friday.

Bedford also pointed out that it took around three months for Wuhan to reach 100,000 cases.

“Thus, it would have had to have been circulating in Ohio since mid-Dec for this to be the case, which is almost certainly not the case,” he wrote.

Acton noted at Friday’s press conference that her comments on Thursday had gone “viral,” and offered an explanation of how she arrived at the 100,000 figure.

She said that the “guesstimate” was based on one prediction that 60 percent of the U.S. population will become infected with coronavirus. Marc Lipsitch, an epidemiologist at Harvard, has estimated that between 20 and 60 percent of Americans will come down with coronavirus, known as COVID-19, at some point.

Acton said that Ohio health officials “worked our way back” on the calendar to determine Ohio’s current infection rate.

“We roughly guesstimated March 9th” as the date that Ohio would have an infection rate of one percent, she said.

It may only be a matter of time before coronavirus does infect substantial numbers of Americans. Health professionals hope to slow down the rate of increase in infections, so that hospitals and health facilities can better manage the epidemic.

ODH did not respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for additional information. DeWine’s office did not respond to emails seeking comment.

“You look a little bit like an alarmist,” Acton said of herself during Friday’s press conference.

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  1. ODH, DeWine and others will apparently at some point and in some way want to downplay Dr. Acton’s irresponsible claim and if you don’t believe this, you only have to read Ken Gordon’s article of 3/13 in the Columbus Dispatch. Clearly a testimonial of all things good regarding Dr. Acton that goes on and on. Why such a huge volume of words of praise when clearly what is the order of the day should have been a sincere apology from Dr. Acton and admission she misspoke.

    Dr. Acton’s actions are clearly a case of fear-mongering for which there is no place for this behavior and this clearly needs to be addressed.

  2. God save us from the stupid people.

    Amy Acton is a disgrace, and she and DeWine make Ohio look foolish, yet again!

  3. With DUHWine’s involvement it’s hard to take politics out of the discussion, but let’s try.

    Like most, including us, the unknown is scary as hell. Remembering that many ‘government appointees’ are no necessarily authorities and know no more than we do. Yet, are expected (pressured) to give us answers & reassurance …..Rather than say “I’m a doctor with no training in this field and can only ‘guess'” they blurt out guesstimates:….(When you’re expected to be in control and you’re not, it’s hard to admit)
    No that doesn’t make it right…..but neither is our demanding concrete answers from everyone with an M.D. after their name.

    Most of the TV doctors are general medicine/family doctors with access to little more ‘facts’ that we/re getting from the President’s taskforce of EXPERTS…These doctors and speculating TV anchors are as dangerous as COVID 10 in some ways and CAUTION should be used when listning.

    Adding to the fear is the 24/7 saturation and continuous repeating of information that get even slightly ‘re-phrased after awhile.

    GOD granted us all ‘common sense”, fully expecting us to use it….wonder how HE feels now?

    Follow all bona fide precautions…STRENGTHEN YOUR FAITH. For the next few weeks we’ll have to sing “same song, could be better, but gonna get worse” followed by “The sun comes out tomorrow”

    In prayer for our nation
    This One American

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