Dr. Deborah Birx, the chief medical officer on the coronavirus task force, told the Trump administration that the pandemic would not be a long term problem, thinking that the U.S. would follow the trajectory of Italy, with a sharp incline of infections followed by a gradual decline.
According to the New York Times, Birx was a constant source of optimism for the Trump administration. She could be seen walking the halls with charts that said the number of infections was easing, and on April 11, she reported to the Coronavirus Task Force in the situation room that the country was in good shape. Dr. Birx was more central than publicly known to the judgment inside the West Wing that the virus was on a downward path.
“Colleagues described her as dedicated to public health and working herself to exhaustion to get the data right, but her model-based assessment nonetheless failed to account for a vital variable: how Mr. Trump’s rush to urge a return to normal would help undercut the social distancing and other measures that were holding down the numbers,” reports the Times.
Birx praised Trump in March, remarking on his ability to grasp the science. In the coming weeks, Birx was caught on camera as Trump’s grasp on science diminished before her eyes.
Trump hasn’t spoken to Dr. Fauci since early June, and Birx has reportedly assumed day to day running of the task force.
Story at BusinessInsider.