CNN's medical expert says 'source' told him '80-90%' of COVID deaths could have been saved by scrapped WH mask plan

CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta raised eyebrows over his reporting

CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta raised eyebrows on Friday over his reporting citing a "source" who said that "80 to 90 percent" of the nearly 200,000 coronavirus deaths in the U.S. could have been saved by the Trump administration if it implemented a newly uncovered mask distribution plan that was apparently scrapped.

The Washington Post reported about a document from the U.S. Postal Service saying it had a partnership with the White House to distribute 650 million masks to Americans nationwide back in April, which was ultimately not executed. One administration official reportedly told the Post, "There was concern from some in the White House Domestic Policy Council and the office of the vice president that households receiving masks might create concern or panic."

However, according to Gupta, tens of thousands of Americans would be alive today if the White House didn't nix this mask distribution plan, which would have reportedly sent five masks to every household.

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"You know, a source told me last night that there have been so many people who have known the right thing to do, have sounded the alarm on this, and going back to the middle of February, talking about the fact that this virus could be spread asymptomatically and that everything needed to change as a result," Gupta told the CNN anchors. "And this is what my source said, 'Every step along the way, this guidance that could have saved, you know, 80 to 90 percent of the people who have died could have been saved if this guidance had been abided by. Every step of the way, that guidance has been buried and then minimized and then ignored and now ridiculed. That's what's happening."

Skeptics slammed Gupta's reporting on social media.

"This seems really irresponsible," writer Josh Jordan reacted. "First, most experts were wrong early on because China was lying about the virus. Some of the states made horrific mistakes (looking at you, Cuomo) early on. I have no doubt Trump could've saved lives by not downplaying it, but not by 80%-90%."

"Aside for being a preposterous number considering how every country dealt with it, there is quite literally no reasonable way to calculate this without making a ton of very speculative hindsight assumptions," Tablet Magazine associate editor Noam Blum tweeted.

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"Sanjay Gupta looked at a Chris Cuomo healthy chest Xray on the air and determined there was a spillage of coronavirus in the lung, something dozens and dozens of radiologists on twitter noted does not exist," conservative commentator Stephen Miller said, questioning Gupta's credibility.

"One of the reasons trust in "science" is corroding is that so many of the people who represent it are partisan actors," National Review senior writer David Harsanyi accused the CNN correspondent.

Resurgent commentator Drew Holden called out the medical correspondent, who previously discouraged his 2.5 million Twitter followers from buying masks.

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"I want to try to explain why health official says buying up #masks isn't the best strategy," Gupta began a thread back in March. "What are we referring to by 'masks'? The one you might be most familiar with is a surgical mask-- the kind people tie behind their head... but these don't provide a lot of protection from viral particles. Which can sometimes get around or even though the mask. Think of it as a physical barrier instead of something airtight."

"There is another reason for healthy people not to wear masks: Health care workers need them, and there's a limited supply," he also said. "So, surgical masks aren't going to protect you from the coronavirus and the #N95 masks will only do so if you are wearing them properly and they have been fit tested."

CNN did not immediately respond to Fox News' inquiry as to whether or not the network backs Gupta's reporting.

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Earlier this week, CNN breaking news editor Kyle Feldscher issued an apology after he was called out for sharing false coronavirus information about herd immunity.