In WaPo, A Virologist Suggests Dr. Birx Is Putting Public At Risk With Her Lies

White House Coronavirus Task Force Response Coordinator Deborah BirxOfficial White House Photo by Andrea Hanks / Public Domain

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In addition, Trump dismissed Birx as “pathetic.”

According to The Washington Post, the White House’s top coronavirus coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx has “lost support within swaths of the scientific and medical community for seeming to minimize the virus and to enable Trump’s overly rosy view of the pandemic.”

  • This past weekend, Birx “lost the backing of the nation’s top Democrat, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA), who privately called Birx ‘the worst’ and publicly said she had no confidence in her,” reported The Post. On Monday morning, Birx “appeared to lose ground with perhaps her most important constituency, Trump himself, who dismissed her as ‘pathetic.’”
  • Trump wrote in a tweet, “So Crazy Nancy Pelosi said horrible things about Dr. Deborah Birx...In order to counter Nancy, Deborah took the bait & hit us. Pathetic!”

  • Trump “was referring to Birx’s grim assessment Sunday on CNN’s ‘State of the Union,’ in which she described the coronavirus as ‘extraordinarily widespread’ across the nation,” continued The Post. Trump was “especially incensed that she did not strike a more optimistic tone about states that are doing well and by her praise for Pelosi, an ardent Trump critic.”
  • “With more than 4.6 million Americans infected, more than 150,000 dead and the economy in shambles, Birx finds herself isolated with increasingly few allies,” The Post wrote. “Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, said that as a scientist, Birx has most damaged her credibility by seeming to dismiss some of the publicly available evidence.”

“She’s ignored the evidence and gone in the media and said things that are not based in evidence at all and even the most generous understanding of what she’s said can’t be justified by the data we have,” Rasmussen said. “When you do something like that, you’re not doing your job competently and it’s really difficult to gain the respect of your colleagues when you’re all scientists and you’ve shown such willful disregard for the science.”

  • The “turning point” for Birx’s harmed reputation was “when she began effusively praising Trump in interviews.”

“He’s been so attentive to the scientific literature and the details and the data,” Birx said in a Christian Broadcasting Network interview in late March, praising Trump’s “ability to analyze and integrate data.”

  • And “another controversial moment came when Birx defended Georgia’s reopening in April, which included tattoo parlors and hair salons, where people cannot be socially distant from each other. Public health officials were also dismayed at reports that Birx was questioning the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s official coronavirus death count as too high, when nearly all experts believe it is probably too low,” the report continued.

“It’s not an easy job to be sharing a podium with political leaders who may say something you don’t agree with,” said Tom Inglesby, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “You have to make a choice — do you choose to correct what you just heard, choose a different moment to correct it in a different way? You can see the challenge that she and Dr. Fauci have with trying to clarify things that are said that they don’t agree with.”

  • Birx “was stung by Trump’s scathing tweet, in part because it could limit her ability to do her job, according to one person familiar with her reaction,” The Post wrote. One ally said, “If she doesn’t have the president’s support, where does her power come from?”

Read the full report here.

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