Story at a glance:
- Deborah Birx, claiming the Trump White House failed to listen to the science, believes more than 130,000 lives could have been saved during the beginning of the pandemic had the measures instructed by experts been implemented.
- Birx said Trump ignored the science in the early stages of COVID-19 in favor of his reelection.
- More than 400,000 Americans had died from COVID-19 by the time Trump left office.
The former White House COVID-19 response coordinator said in testimony to the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis that former President Trump dropped the ball in preventing thousands of COVID-related deaths.
Deborah Birx used to help craft the pandemic response for the Trump administration. On Tuesday, she called him out as negligent during the initial phase of the pandemic. If only Trump promoted social distancing and the use of masks, she said, according to Business Insider.
When the House asked Birx if Trump did everything he could to prevent the spread and save lives, her response was "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," she added, according to excerpts of her testimony released on Tuesday (Birx testified in mid-October).
Birx, claiming the Trump White House failed to listen to the science, believes more than 130,000 lives could have been saved during the beginning of the pandemic had the measures instructed by experts been implemented.
"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% less to 40% less range," Birx said.
The early stages of the pandemic coincided with the 2020 election, in which Birx suggested that Trump was more concerned about campaigning for his reelection than COVID-19 prevention guidelines.
It is also worth noting that Trump initially wanted to downplay the threat of COVID-19 to avoid "panic," according to a hidden interview with famed Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward.
"The governors and mayors and others that were campaigning, as well as the White House that was campaigning, just took people's time away from and distracted them away from the pandemic in my personal opinion," Birx said. "They were actively campaigning and not as present in the White House as previously."
More than 400,000 Americans died from COVID-19 by the time Trump left office.
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