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Birx says early pandemic warnings came from Europe: ‘That in itself should be an indictment of our system’

Dr. Deborah Birx, who served as White House coronavirus response coordinator during the Trump administration, said on Sunday that the fact that early data on the COVID-19 pandemic came from Europe should be an “indictment of our system.”

During an appearance on CBS’s “Face The Nation,” moderator Margaret Brennan noted earlier remarks from Birx that she did not trust the data she received from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) during her tenure, specifically pointing to delays in information regarding the race and ethnicity of COVID fatalities. 

“First and foremost, in March of 2020, all of our data that I used to warn Americans of who was at risk for severe disease, hospitalization, and deaths came from our European colleagues,” Birx replied. “That in itself should be an indictment of our system.”

Birx also said that her requests to CDC to improve its system and develop partnerships with clinics, hospitals, and laboratories went unheeded. 

“The private sector is willing to help us, you know, they have people working in these communities. They want everyone to do well to thrive and survive,” Birx said. “And so I think we’re just not tapping into the system that the United States utilizes for health care delivery and because of that, there’s extraordinary delays, and critically, there’s incomplete data.” 

Birx’s remarks come after CDC Director Rochelle Walensky announced last week that the agency plans to overhaul its system, saying that “it didn’t meet expectations” following an internal review of the agency’s shortcomings in its COVID-19 response. 

When asked about on Sunday the latest CDC changes, Birx said that transparency is key for the agency to rebuild its trust with the public. 

“Well, the way you rebuild public trust is be transparent. And I think that’s in the report: better data, better accountability, better transparency. But they also have to believe, and this gets to the culture piece, people can understand complicated issues,” Birx said.  “It’s your job as a public health official.”

Tags Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; CDC COVID-19 pandemic COVID-19 testing Dr. Deborah Birx Margaret Brennan Margaret Brennan Rochelle Walenksy Trump
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