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Nancy Pelosi, Like Us, Lacks Confidence in Dr. Deborah Birx

Dr. Birx told CNN that America was entering "a new phase" of the COVID-19 pandemic.

dr. deborah birx

As coronavirus cases surge across the country, the federal government continues to do absolutely nothing. White House coronavirus task force coordinator and scarf enthusiast Dr. Deborah Birx appeared on CNN to discuss what she called “a new phase” of the pandemic, which at this point has killed at least 154,449 Americans.

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Birx appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union”, where she told host Dana Bash, “What we are seeing today is different from March and April. It is extraordinarily widespread. It’s into the rural as equal urban areas,” adding that “It’s not super spreading individuals, it’s super spreading events and we need to stop those. We definitely need to take more precautions.”

She continued, “If you have high case load and active community spread, just like we are asking people not to go to bars, not to have household parties, not to create large spreading events, we are asking people to distance learn at this moment so we can get this epidemic under control.”

Birx urged viewers to wear masks, practice social distancing, and wash their hands, but refused to recommend any sort of federal mandate or safety order. Dr. Birx has come under fire for repeatedly praising Trump and his administration, and when asked about further efforts she said, “I think the federal government reset about five to six weeks ago when we saw this starting to happen across the south.”

It’s unclear what reset she is referring to, as six weeks ago the White House tried to claim victory over the virus in a Wall Street Journal op-ed by Mike Pence. The White House only recently resumed daily COVID-19 briefings last month, after suspending them at the end of April.

Birx was also called out in a New York Times piece about Trump’s abdication of any efforts to control the pandemic. In April, Birx claimed that the US was “putting out the embers” of COVID-19, likening the country’s reopening to that of Italy, which squashed the virus. The New York Times article also called Birx, “the chief evangelist for the idea that the threat from the virus was fading.”

But Birx’s data failed to account for a president incapable of modeling responsible behavior, while simultaneously pressuring states and businesses to reopen.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also shared doubts about Dr. Birx’s efficacy on ABC News’ This Week, where host Martha Raddatz asked if Pelosi had any confidence in Dr. Birx. Pelosi responded, “I think the president has been spreading disinformation about the virus and she is his appointee so, I don’t have confidence there, no.”

In response to Pelosi’s criticism, Birx said “I have tremendous respect for the speaker, I have tremendous respect for her long dedication to the American people. And I think it was unfortunate that The New York Times wrote this article without speaking to me … I have never been called Pollyanna-ish or non-scientific or non-data-driven, and I will stake my 40-year career of those fundamental principles of utilizing data to really implement better programs to save more lives.”

(via CNN, image: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.

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