Report: Dr. Birx ‘Distressed’ With Direction Of Trump's COVID Task Force
According to CNN, sources close to Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, say she is “distressed” with the direction its direction and is uncertain how much longer she can serve in the position.
- Birx reportedly has described the situation inside the federal coronarivus response as “nightmarish,” CNN wrote.
- Sources familiar with her thinking told the outlet that Birx has taken issue with the addition of Dr. Scott Atlas, whom she views “as an unhealthy influence on President Donald Trump's thinking when it comes to the virus.”
"The President has found somebody who matches what he wants to believe," a source close to Birx said of her view of Atlas's relationship with Trump. "There is no doubt that she feels that her role has been diminished."
- CNN reported that Birx “believes Atlas is feeding the President misleading information about the efficacy of face masks for controlling the spread of the virus, the source said.”
Atlas, a neuroradiologist without expertise in infectious diseases, has seen his prominent role on the task force come under some scrutiny as respected medical experts have questioned his controversial flirtation with "herd immunity" as a solution for the outbreak in the US.
"When you isolate everyone, including all the healthy people, you're prolonging the problem because you're preventing population immunity. Low-risk groups getting the infection is not a problem," Atlas told Fox News in July.
- An administration official in close proximity to the coronavirus response told CNN that some experts on the task force were unsettled by Atlas’ addition.
But the official maintained Atlas "shook things up a bit" and brought "fresh eyes" to discussions behind the scenes, a dynamic Trump prefers.
"He's not been instructed to make friends," the official said of Atlas.
- While Trump has invited Atlas to appear at recent White House press briefings, Birx and Dr. Anthony Fauci have been noticeably absent.
- One source close to Birx said of the matter, "Don't you think the frustration would be there?"
The same source said Birx, who has spent much of her career tackling global health crises from Covid-19 to AIDS, is not likely to end her time in government service by stepping down from the task force.
"She is a good soldier. I don't think she's going anywhere," the source said.