Dr. Deborah Birx, one of the top doctors who served as the coronavirus pandemic response coordinator under former President Donald Trump, said the number of COVID-19 deaths would be lower if the administration had acted quicker.
“I look at it this way –– the first 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 on a CNN documentary that aired Sunday night (March 28).
Birx said the Trump administration’s mixed messaging about the pandemic contributed to the death toll which has surpassed 548,000 in the US.
“The federal government did not provide consistent messaging to the American people and that is fault number one,” Birx said later in the interview with CNN’s chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Gupta sat down with the nation's top health experts who were in leadership at the start of the pandemic.
Birx has faced criticism for praising Trump’s response to the coronavirus, The Huffington Post reported, even when he peddled the effectiveness of unproven drugs to cure the virus and conspiracy theories.
Dr. Anthony Fauci aired some of his own critique at Birx during the CNN special, stating that Birx could have done more to get Trump to take action sooner. Fauci also acknowledged the “difficult situation” Birx was in, and credited her with doing “a lot of good.”
Birx revealed that she had a “very uncomfortable” call with Trump last August after she went on TV to discuss the threat of COVID-19 and was told not to speak on national TV after that.
“My understanding was I could not be national because [Trump] might see it,” she said.
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