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Birx says someone was giving Trump ‘parallel data’ about Covid pandemic

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Deborah Birx, Coronavirus Response Coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force, speaks after a White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing at the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, DC on June 26, 2020.

Joshua Roberts | Getty Images

Dr. Deborah Birx, Trump’s White House coronavirus response coordinator, said in a CBS interview published Sunday that former President Donald Trump was reviewing “parallel” coronavirus pandemic records from someone within the administration.

“I’ve seen the President show off graphics that I’ve never done,” Birx told Margaret Brennan on CBS News’ Face The Nation. “Someone inside created a parallel set of data and graphs that were shown to the President.”

Birx, who announced her resignation as President Joe Biden last week, said she did not know the identity of the person who gave other information to the president. She added that there were Covid-19 deniers within the Trump administration.

“There were people who definitely thought this was a joke,” she said. “I think the information was confusing at first. I think because we weren’t talking about the spectrum of the disease, everyone interpreted what they knew.”

According to the Johns Hopkins University, more than 25 million people have been infected and at least 417,000 people have died in the United States since the pandemic began.

Birx said she had always considered resigning from the White House’s coronavirus task force and was censored by the Trump administration, but denied ever withholding information about the virus.

“When you have a pandemic where you rely on every American to change their behavior, communication is absolutely vital,” she said. “Every time a political leader made a statement that didn’t meet public health needs, our response got derailed. That’s why I took to the streets because I wasn’t censored along the way.”

Birx also said she was increasingly concerned about the Trump administration’s pandemic strategy, particularly right before the presidential election. At the start of the pandemic, Birx had approved of the government’s response, but later frustrated Trump when she emphasized the severity of the pandemic.

“My colleagues, whom I had known for decades – decades – in that one experience because I was in the White House, decided that I had become that political person even though they had known me forever,” said Birx. “I had to ask myself every morning, ‘Is there something I think I can do to respond to this pandemic?’ And that’s what I asked myself every evening. “

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