Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, wrote in an internal report shared with White House officials on Monday that the Trump administration must take "much more aggressive action" in order to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Birx warned that "cases are rapidly rising in nearly 30 percent of all USA counties, the highest number of county hotspots we have seen with this pandemic," The Washington Post reports. In many areas, testing is "flat or declining" but the number of cases is increasing, Birx wrote, and the country is "entering the most concerning and most deadly phase of this pandemic ... leading to increasing mortality. This is not about lockdowns — it hasn't been about lockdowns since March or April. It's about an aggressive balanced approach that is not being implemented."
President Trump has been claiming the U.S. is "rounding the turn" on the virus, and in the report, Birx expressly contradicts Trump, warning against huge gatherings like his campaign rallies. One administration official told the Post that Birx has been sending "urgent" messages like this for weeks, and has been pleading with Trump staffers to "ask the American people to use masks, avoid gatherings, and socially distance, basically since it became apparent that we were heading into a third surge."
Another administration official told the Post that Birx feels "like she's being ignored," especially since Trump has been persuaded by his new medical adviser, radiologist Scott Atlas, that herd immunity is the way to go. Birx has been challenging Atlas in meetings, the Post reports, and has spent the last few weeks traveling to virus hot spots and asking health officials to shutter restaurants and bars and make masks mandatory. Read more at The Washington Post.