CNN spoke with multiple former members of the Trump administration’s White House coronavirus task force.
During his interview, Fauci shared that Trump’s push for the country to reopen early during the coronavirus pandemic hit him like a punch to the chest. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, now works as a chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden.
“The thing that hit me like a punch to the chest was then all of a sudden he got up and says, ‘liberate Virginia,’ ‘liberate Michigan,’ and I said to myself, ‘Oh my goodness, what is going on here?’ It shocked me because it was such a jolt to what we were trying to do,” Fauci said.
In April of 2020, Trump called for states to be “[liberated]” that have Democratic governors who imposed coronavirus restrictions.
Fauci’s remark is in line with Dr. Deborah Birx’s, a former White House coronavirus task force member.
“The one policy directive he gave to me in April, which was the last time I really had any briefing with him in that kind of way, was, ‘We will never shut the country down again,'” she said, according to CNN.
Birx also shared why she joined the task force, saying, “So, now you know why I came to the White House. Because I could see the avalanche coming, and I could see that we were not prepared, and I thought I could do something.”
According to Birx, after the initial roughly 100,000 deaths from the first surge of COVID-19 in the U.S., in her mind, “All of the rest of them … could have been mitigated or decreased substantially.”
In the U.S., there has been an average of 63,199 positive COVID-19 cases reported per day over the past week, according to The New York Times. It is a 15% increase compared to the average two weeks prior. More than 548,000 COVID-19-related deaths have been reported in the country.
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