- Top US infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci defended White House coronavirus czar Dr. Deborah Birx after President Donald Trump criticised her for her stark assessment of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
- On Sunday, Birx said that the US is entering a “new phase” of the pandemic, as surges in cases can be attributed to asymptomatic carriers who don’t know they are infected and make it much more difficult to identify, isolate, and contact trace the virus within communities.
- Trump took Birx’s analysis as a criticism of the US pandemic response, accusing her of offering such a grim assessment to curry favour with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has condemned the coronavirus czar for not doing enough to confront the president’s faulty claims on the pandemic.
- During a virtual press conference, Dr. Fauci explained the reasoning behind’s Birx’s use of a “new phase,” saying that the US is seeing a much more “insidious” spread of the virus, making it difficult to suppress and contain its spread throughout communities.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Dr. Anthony Fauci came to the defence of White House COVID-19 czar Dr. Deborah Birx after President Donald Trump slammed her for acknowledging that the coronavirus is getting worse in the US.
On Sunday, Birx said the US is entering a “new phase” of the coronavirus pandemic as some states see uncontrolled surges in cases by asymptomatic individuals.
Her comments on the pandemic came after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the coronavirus czar “enabled” the president and has not done enough to confront his misguided claims about the coronavirus.
Trump, however, took Birx’s stark assessment of a “new phase” as a blow to the US response to the coronavirus, accusing Birx of acknowledging the worsening pandemic in order to appeal to Pelosi’s criticisms.
“So Crazy Nancy Pelosi said horrible things about Dr. Deborah Birx, going after her because she was too positive on the very good job we are doing on combatting the China Virus, including Vaccines & Therapeutics,” Trump tweetedMonday. “In order to counter Nancy, Deborah took the bait & hit us. Pathetic!”
In a virtual press conference with Gov. Ned Lamont of Connecticut, Fauci elaborated on Birx’s analysis of a “new phase” of the pandemic by explaining that she was referring to the prevalence of “inherent community spread” in the US.
“The reason why she’s saying it’s a new phase is because, throughout the country, when you have community spread, it’s much more difficult to get your arms around that and contain it,” Fauci said during the press conference.
“There are spreads where you know where it is and you can contain it,” he added, citing examples like outbreaks in a nursing home, meat-packing facility, or prison, but inherent community spread is “insidious.”
“There are people who are spreading it who have no symptoms at all, and we know that definitely occurs,” the infectious disease expert continued. “It’s difficult to identify it, and it’s difficult to do identification, isolation, and contact tracing.”
Birx and Fauci’s viewpoints of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic stand at odds with the president’s, as he continues to refer to confirmed infections in the US as “embers” that can be quickly stamped out.
The US has reported more than 4.7 million cases and over 155,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.