Ex-head of Trump’s COVID response team says 40 percent fewer Americans would have died if he’d supported basic protocals

Ex-head of Trump’s COVID response team says 40 percent fewer Americans would have died if he’d supported basic protocals
President Donald J. Trump listens as White House Coronavirus Task Force Response Coordinator Deborah Birx delivers remarks during a coronavirus update briefing Thursday, April 16, 2020, in the James S. Brady White House Press Briefing Room. (Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian)

Trump White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx told congressional investigators behind closed doors between 30 percent and 40 percent fewer Americans would have died from COVID-19 if then-president Donald Trump and the Trump administration had supported just the basic coronavirus preventative protocols like mask wearing.

According to Birx's statement, up to 295,000 Americans would not have died if Trump and his administration had supported the basic protocols.

On April 3, 2020 Trump chose to make the announcement to the American people that CDC was advising mask-wearing, and during that same press briefing he immediately announced he would not wear a mask.

"It's voluntary and you don't have to do it," Trump declared on national television. Repeatedly stressing the word "voluntary," Trump added, "I don't think I'm going to be doing it."

The New York Times reports Dr. Birx, who is an expert in immunology, vaccine research, and global health, told investigators, "I believe if we had fully implemented the mask mandates, the reduction in indoor dining, the getting friends and family to understand the risk of gathering in private homes, and we had increased testing, that we probably could have decreased fatalities into the 30 percent less to 40 percent less range."

Asked whether Mr. Trump did everything he should have to counter the pandemic, she said: "No. And I've said that to the White House in general, and I believe I was very clear to the president in specifics of what I needed him to do."

The Times separately today reports 737,526 Americans have died from COVID-19, and more than 45.5 million Americans have been infected.

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