OPINION | This article contains opinion that reflects the author's views.
In a new book titled “Silent Invasion,” Dr. Deborah Birx admits to being deceitful when recommending COVID-19 strategies to President Donald Trump.
Birx explains that much of the guidance issued to mitigate the pandemic was arbitrary.
“Two weeks to stop the spread” was an essential component of the strategy to combat COVID-19 despite not having adequate data. Nonetheless, Birx says they pushed ahead with her plans to convince Trump and his advisors to go along with her mitigation plans.
In March 2020, Birx writes that she met with President Trump and she purposefully obfuscated her intentions for economic shutdowns.
She says she knew Trump was wary of anything that would negatively impact the economy since he had worked very hard to build it up.
“I couldn’t do anything that would reveal my true intention,” she writes, “to use the travel ban as one brick in the construction of a larger wall of protective measures we needed to enact very soon.”
Birx criticizes the Trump administration for their concerns over the economy.
Trump was understandably very concerned about the impact and potential for loss of lives to Americans of shutting down society and the economy.
“The failure here does not belong to any one institution or person,” Birx writes. “It’s bigger than that, broader than that. It defies easy explanation or reflexive answers.”
“It’s easy to lay the blame at the feet of the Trump administration, but it’s crucial to understand that the CDC had been fully funded for global health security since 2009.”
Birx argues that while Trump does take much of the blame, this was a failure of the CDC and the Department of Health and Human Services.
More on this story via The Post Millennial:
It was because of these failures that when it was time to offer guidance it was based on speculation and was arbitrary. The two week quarantine was eventually lessened to 10 days, and then to five…
“Getting the travel ban through was a crucial first test of my data-driven approach,” she writes. “That it worked would, I hoped, make the end-of-the-week pitch for our version of flattening-the-curve-to-protect hospitals ‘shutdown’ easier.” Birx and her team shifted into high gear to get that plan past the goalie, using not US data but an amalgamation of data from other nations, which did not include economic data, forecasts, or predictions.
In light of this failure of data from all angles, Birx and her team used terms that they believed would be palatable to the economic team, noting that “we decided to take these [economic-based concerns] directly, highlighting ‘preemptive’ and ‘low-cost’ interventions.” These included hand sanitizer, but not masks, which Birx would later come to regret. As recently as June 2022, Birx wore a face mask when testifying before the US House.
Birx laments, looking back, that they were not more stern in their approach to guidance, saying that it is concerning that people would not “prioritize the health of others over their own personal liberty.” Birx notes that “early data from Europe showed widespread compliance.”
In one section, Birx writes about how her team would give draft guidance to the Trump administration only for advisors there to alter or rearrange it, at which time her team would put it back in and deliver it to governors and other agencies.