Deborah Birx, COVID task force coordinator during the Trump era, said the previous government’s response to the pandemic was lacking.
White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator Under Former President Donald Trump Says She Believes In COVID-19 death toll in the country would have been “considerably diminished” had the previous government reacted more effectively in the early days of the epidemic.
Dr Deborah Birx said that if the initial outbreak in March last year caught health officials off guard, better communication and coordination on the part of the government could have reduced the number of deaths later.
“There were around 100,000 deaths as a result of this initial wave,” Birx said in an interview with CNN. “The rest, in my opinion, could have been mitigated or significantly reduced.”
The United States has reported more than 30 million coronavirus infections, including more than 549,000 deaths, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.
Trump had minimized the epidemic in its early days, resisted mitigation efforts and criticized the harsh lockdown measures imposed to stop the spread of the virus. He has repeatedly avoided mask-wearing guidelines that health experts say reduce the risk of catching the infection.
Untruths and pressure
Birx was one of many former Trump officials to detail the dysfunctions, infighting and an aversion to the truth that they say has hampered the government and public response to the pandemic.
In the CNN report, Admiral Brett Giroir, who led the government’s testing effort, said the administration lied about the number of publicly available tests, confusing the available “components” needed to perform tests with ready-to-use tests.
Meanwhile, Dr Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under Trump, told the network then health secretary Alex M Azar and his allies pressured him to he reviews the weekly COVID-19 morbidity and mortality reports.
Birx, who has been criticized for failing to defend Trump’s disinformation about the pandemic more firmly in public, recounted a “ very uncomfortable ” call with the former president after describing the extent of the virus in an interview with CNN in August of last year, when it told people in rural areas that they were not immune.
Trump, who tested positive for the virus in October, was under re-election at the time.
“Everyone in the White House was shocked by this interview and the clarity with which I caused the epidemic,” Birx said.
“I was called by the president. It was very uncomfortable, very direct and very difficult to hear.