Once part of Trump’s Covid-19 team, Birx recalls ‘uncomfortable’ experience

By | Edited by Mallika Soni, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Mar 29, 2021 11:44 AM IST

In an interview which was part of a documentary "Covid War: The Pandemic Doctors Speak Out", Birx spoke of her experience in the Trump administration.

Former Trump White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said during a CNN interview on Sunday that most of the deaths due to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic were avoidable. The interview was part of a documentary "Covid War: The Pandemic Doctors Speak Out." She said that while many deaths in the first phase of the pandemic were bound to happen, the deaths in the later surges could have been reduced if there was greater focus on social distancing and shutdown measures by the Trump administration.

Dr Deborah Birx, former White House coronavirus coordinator.(Reuters)
Dr Deborah Birx, former White House coronavirus coordinator.(Reuters)

"I look at it this way. The first time, we have an excuse. There were about 100,000 deaths that came from that original surge. All of the rest of them, in my mind, could have been mitigated or decreased substantially," Birx said.

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Talking about former President Trump, Birx said, "Well, I think you've heard other conversations that people have posted with the president. I would say it was even more direct than what people have heard. It was very uncomfortable, very direct and very difficult to hear."

Birx, who retired from her position as the White House coordinator in December, is not part of Biden's Covid-19 team. Although Dr. Anthony Fauci who is the head of the national institute of allergy and infectious diseases is a part of the Biden administration. Both Birx and Fauci had warned in March 2020 that nearly 240,000 people would die from Covid-19 but their warning was not heeded by the Trump administration.

In earlier interviews as well, the former White House coordinator has criticised the Trump administration. Earlier this month, Birx told ABC news, "I can't tell you how many discussions we had on, how do we get the message out realizing what's happening at the most senior levels of the White House." In a CBS interview in January, Birx said, “There were people who definitely believed that (the coronavirus) was a hoax" in the White House.

Although, Democrats have not been very fond of Birx which is one of the major reasons why she was not given a place in the Biden administration. In March 2020, Birx had praised Trump for being "so attentive to the scientific literature and the details and the data" about the outbreak. Such comments made by Birx made Democrat Ted Lieu call her “enabler of Trump” after her interview with CNN.

"The malicious incompetence that resulted in hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths starts at the top, with the former president and his enablers. And who was one of his enablers? Dr. Birx, who was afraid to challenge his unscientific rhetoric and wrongfully praised him," Lieu said in a tweet.

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