White House Says Kellyanne Conway ‘Well Aware’ What COVID-19 Means After Inaccurately Referencing ‘COVID-1’

White House adviser comes under fire for “Fox & Friends” appearance Wednesday

Last Updated: April 15, 2020 @ 1:28 PM

Counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway appeared on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” Wednesday morning, attempting to take a shot at the World Health Organization — and has been brutally mocked for her seemingly scientifically inaccurate comment. The White House, however, claims she did not misspeak.

“This is COVID-19, not COVID-1, folks,” she declared, “and so you would think the people in charge of the World Health Organization, facts and figures, would be on top of that.”

COVID-19 means, in reality, “coronavirus disease 2019,” a reference to the year the strain currently causing a global pandemic was first discovered. It has nothing to do with the number of previously-discovered strains, as Conway seemingly suggested.

“No wonder the WHO has lost the plot, they didn’t even bother watching the first 18 COVIDs,” sniped New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait on Twitter.

“They learned nothing from the carnage of Bowling Green,” replied Slate’s Will Saletan, referencing another infamous on-air mistake from Conway.

Others joked about movies with numbers in their titles, wondering how Conway could watch K-9 if she hadn’t seen the first eight and if she had seen the first 2000 Space Odysseys?

Lawyer Bradley Moss, however, didn’t let her off easily and, in fact, cautioned that the jokes might be what she wanted in the first place: “Kellyanne is not dumb, folks. She’s rather intelligent. She’s simply gaslighting, depending on the fact that the president’s base either doesn’t know the facts here or doesn’t care so long as they get to mock the subsequent liberal outrage.”

A White House official told TheWrap, “Kellyanne is well aware that ’19’ refers to the year.  She attends Task Force meetings daily and sits right behind Drs. Birx and Fauci.  Kellyanne never mentioned ’18 other coronaviruses’. In three different interviews today, Kellyanne made the same point: The WHO has one job, to anticipate infectious disease pandemics. They are charged with managing the information – the facts and figures –  and are paid handsomely to do so. ‘This is COVID 19, not COVID 1’ on one show addressed the sheer number of years the U.S. has given billions and billions of dollars to WHO and were failed by them when it came to the origins, severity, human-to-human transmission and such related to Coronavirus.”