News & Politics

Report: Dr. Birx Contradicts Trump on Covid, Presses White House to Step Up Efforts

As covid cases surge, Trump has claimed the nation is "rounding the corner."

Photograph courtesy of the White House Flickr.

Unlike Anthony Fauci, Deborah Birx has not become a folk hero during the pandemic. Birx, who’s been the coordinator of the White House’s covid task force, also has a long record in the infectious-disease field. But where Fauci has become a lightning rod on the far right, and where media accounts have frequently speculated on his feelings about Trump, Birx has not scquired either that sort of adoration or that sort of hostility—in large part because she has seemed less publicly critical than Fauci.

But one day after President Trump suggested he might fire Dr. Anthony Fauci, that may be changing. In unusually direct terms—and an internal memo that someone managed to reach the general public—Birx has been urging the administration to take more aggressive steps to combat the pandemic that has already claimed more than 230,000 American lives, according to The Washington Post.

In an internal report dated Monday, which was circulated among White House officials, Dr. Deborah Birx contracted many of Trump’s coronavirus statements and practices, such as his campaign-trail claim the nation is “rounding the turn” in its effort to contain the virus. “Cases are rapidly rising in nearly 30 percent of all USA counties, the highest number of county hotspots we have seen with this pandemic,” Dr. Birx said in her report, which was obtained by The Post. “Half of the United States is in the red or orange zone for cases despite flat or declining testing.”

“We are entering the most concerning and most deadly phase of this pandemic … leading to increasing mortality,” Dr. Birx continued. “This is not about lockdown— It hasn’t been about lockdowns since March or April. It’s about an aggressive balanced approach that is not being implemented.”

How will Trump respond to her report? We’ll have to wait and see.

Read the full story here.

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Senior Writer

Luke Mullins is a senior writer at Washingtonian magazine focusing on the people and institutions that control the city’s levers of power. He has written about the Koch Brothers’ attempt to take over The Cato Institute, David Gregory’s ouster as moderator of NBC’s Meet the Press, the collapse of Washington’s Metro system, and the conflict that split apart the founders of Politico.