Watch: Deborah Birx admits more lives could have been spared if Trump officials hadn't 'underplayed' the pandemic'

Watch: Deborah Birx admits more lives could have been spared if Trump officials hadn't 'underplayed' the pandemic'
Image via Screengrab

Deborah Birx, the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, now insists members of the Trump administration pressured her to alter the COVID statistics she submitted to the states at the height of the COVID pandemic.

On Thursday, June 23, Birx appeared before the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis where she shared details about the Trump administration's pandemic response. According to HuffPost, Birx recalled how the Trump White House administration functioned in disarray as she dealt with numerous breakdowns in communicationwhile trying to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Speaking publicly about her position for the first time, Birx explained how she had to creatively improvise when it came to relaying COVID information. “So I learned to put the things that there were issues with into the second part of a sentence,” Birx said as she hoped Trump administration officials reviewing her reports wouldn't notice the strategic changes.

However, Birx did not name the officials who reviewed her reports.

The top-ranking infectious disease expert also noted how portraying COVID as being similar to the flu ultimately gave Americans “a false sense of security.” Birx admitted that Trump and a number of other administrative officials “underplayed the seriousness of the pandemic.”

“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 said, adding, “And it wasn’t being seen because we weren’t testing.”

Birx went on to detail a number of theories that were being perpetrated by other Trump-aligned officials. Dr. Scott Atlas, who briefly served as one of Trump's COVID advisers and was a vocal supporter of herd immunity to combat the spread of the pandemic,

“Case identification is bad for the president’s re-election — testing should only be of the sick,” Birx recalled the conspiracy-driven doctor saying, according to The New York Times.

Birx also spoke to the committee about Atlas’ involvement saying it “certainly destroyed any cohesion in the response in the White House.”

She continued, “When you no longer agree on what is actually happening in the country and what needs to be done, and there’s not consensus on that, then you lose the ability to execute in the maximum efficient and effective way.”

When asked if she believed more lives could have potentially been spared if Trump had taken her advice into deeper consideration, she said, "Absolutely."

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