Trump officers underplayed pandemic, pushed to weaken COVID steering

Deborah Birx, former President Trump’s coronavirus response coordinator, advised a congressional listening to Thursday folks had been speaking “dangerous ideas” on the pandemic with him “on a daily basis.”

Driving the information: In her first testimony earlier than a House panel about her time within the Trump administration, Birx stated there was “continued communication of underplaying the seriousness of this pandemic” that led to inaction early on throughout authorities companies, which “created a false sense of security in America.”

What she’s saying: “It wasn’t just the president — many of our leaders, were using words like ‘we could contain,’ and you cannot contain a virus that cannot be seen,” Birx advised the House choose subcommittee on the coronavirus disaster.”And it wasn’t being seen because we weren’t testing.”

  • Birx famous “there were individuals communicating with the White House” who “believed that if you infected enough people that you would have herd immunity,” regardless of there being no proof of this and, “in fact, there was evidence to the contrary.”

The huge image: The committee launched lots of of pages of paperwork that included a transcript of interviews with Birx final October through which she said that unnamed Trump officers would demand she change COVID-19 stories for governors’ workplaces.

  • If the adjustments weren’t made, “the governors’ reports would not have gone out,” Birx stated. She added that adjustments can be made about 25% of the time.
  • “It was my job to refute them and that’s where we got to 4851 the 25/75,” she stated of combating towards weakening the steering.

Meanwhile, the House panel launched an electronic mail from Scott Atlas, a senior fellow on the conservative Hoover Institution who joined the Trump administration in July 2020, stating in March of that yr that the virus “would cause about 10,000 deaths.”

  • Atlas wrote “the panic needs to be stopped, both about the need for lockdown and even the need for urgent testing.”

For the file: More than 1 million deaths from COVID-19 have been recorded within the U.S. because the pandemic started.

The backside line: Birx testified that such feedback by Atlas contradicting recommendation from her and different pandemic specialists together with NIAID director Anthony Fauci “destroyed any cohesion in the response.”

  • “When you no longer agree on what is actually happening in the country and what needs to be done … then you lose the ability to execute in the maximum efficient and effective way,” Birx stated.

The different aspect: Representatives for Trump and Atlas couldn’t instantly be reached for remark, however the former president stated in a press release final yr that Birx “was a very negative voice who didn’t have the right answers.”

  • Atlas wasn’t concerned within the listening to, however beforehand performed down his pandemic response function throughout an interview with committee staffers earlier this yr, saying “Dr. Birx was responsible for the policies that were implemented previously and also during my time there and also after I left,” per AP.

Go deeper: House report critiques Trump administration’s COVID response

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