DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (CNN) – Problems with data collection and testing, slow communication and personal struggles within former US President Donald Trump’s administration are hampering the initial response to the coronavirus pandemic in the United States on Tuesday.
In his book “The Silent Invasion: The Untold Story of the Trump Administration, COVID-19, and Protecting from the Next Pandemic Before It’s Too Late,” published across America on Tuesday, Birx described his struggle to communicate with an administration unprepared for the pandemic, and President Trump, who was quick to tone down his grim expectations of the damage the virus can inflict.
“He was another divorced boss who wanted to know how bad things were and what could be done to avoid the worst,” Birx wrote of his 2020 debut on the task force. She continued “But there was no other president or any other White House. It was President Trump and Trump’s White House. I was constantly standing on quicksand, between political actors I didn’t know and a president who has proven to like to present any new news as good or optimistic, or ignore it.
In his book, Birx also criticized the US Centers for Disease Control and Control (CDC) for its initial response to the disease as flu-like and for the lack of a clear division of labor between agencies. Birx attributed some of those reasons to the agency’s director, Dr. Robert Redfield, as a “political appointee” in the Trump administration.
She also addressed the difficulties she’s had in persuading CDC officials to acknowledge the widespread spread of the coronavirus, saying, “Employees will question everything that’s come out of Bob and this White House.”
Nonetheless, along with excluding political messaging from public health messaging, Birx writes that she and some physicians have responded to “Covid-19” by creating a charter: If any of them are fired, Redfield and Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Communicable Diseases and FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, they will all resign in protest.
And she clarified that “I did not expect to be expelled, and did not want to resign without the others”.
“I didn’t think my departure would change anything for the better. Accusing the Trump administration of negligence will not suddenly produce a different response to the pandemic,” she added.
After Birx interviewed CNN’s Dana Bash in August 2020, Yeha said the virus was “widespread”, Birx wrote that Trump called her and asked her to give the name of the person who had booked her interview, saying, “That’s it! Do you understand me?” And even ! The virus is under control.”
She noted in her book that they were making progress, but “the president was wrong. We didn’t control the virus.”
In his book, Birx noted that despite the “functional dysfunction” of the White House, the United States of America has struggled to keep pace with the rapid spread of the virus, pointing out that addressing the issues revealed by the pandemic could help save the country from the next pandemic.
Addressing the lack of data collection and analysis
“Data is the focal point of a pandemic,” Birx explained in his book, adding that “data shows where the shortages are, where communities are responding effectively, revealing the truth, showing where things are going wrong and how improve, and allow you to stay focused and develop evidence-based policies, so you won’t have a complete answer without complete data.
Prior to joining the COVID-19 response team, Birx believed US health officials were reviewing data she did not have access to. But once she arrived in March 2020, it became clear to her, who had previously worked on the presidential emergency plan to fight AIDS, that the country was in a “dangerously uncomfortable position” in terms of collecting data on the new coronavirus.
Realize that the new virus may behave differently
Birx wrote that she suspected infection with the virus without symptoms was contributing to the rapid spread of ‘Covid-19’, before joining White House staff, despite the paucity of evidence at the time.
“After years of experience seeing asymptomatic cases, and those that do, or those whose records are ignored, every time I read a number that indicates a confirmed case, I multiply it by three to ten,” said she declared.
And at least early in the pandemic, the focus was on those with symptoms, like the flu. But the virus that causes “Covid-19” is completely different.
Develop early tests
The lack of clear and precise data on Covid-19, and the misunderstanding of the silent spread, have contributed to the realization of the great need for testing in the United States of America. Birx wrote that the CDC’s initial tests were flawed, delaying the country for weeks. She noted that even public health labs were not equipped to act quickly and deal with the scale needed to respond to “Covid-19”.
Birx addressed a meeting held in the first phase of her work, which included US makers of “Covid-19” tests, noting that knowing the White House has slowed her meetings with manufacturers, despite limited testing and its slow mechanism, represents a “worst case scenario.”
The need to find solutions to avoid the worst
Birx ended her book with a list of “critical issues” that need to be addressed in the United States related to pandemic response and preparedness. They include clarity on the division of responsibilities between agencies, extensive testing and diagnostics, and better data collection from CDCs, as well as “overall” improved coordination between public health institutions.
He concluded that some of these changes are still needed, in order to manage the pandemic now.