Deborah Birx, the White House’s coronavirus task force response coordinator, blasted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a White House coronavirus task force meeting during a discussion on COVID-19 data, according to The Washington Post.
“There is nothing from the CDC that I can trust,” she told CDC Director Robert Redfield, two people familiar with the meeting told the newspaper.
The Post reported that Birx and others feared that the CDC’s statistics on mortality rate and case counts were inflated by up to 25%.
Birx later told The Post in a statement that “mortality is slowly declining each day.”
She continued: “To keep with this trend, it is essential that seniors and those with comorbidities shelter in place and that we continue to protect vulnerable communities.”
One internal Trump administration model projected that coronavirus deaths would reach a whopping 3,000 deaths per day by June 1, which is double the current rate, according to The New York Times.
Several of The Post’s sources described the meeting with Birx and Redfield as “heated,” though two other sources disagreed.
According to The Post, Redford defended the CDC, but many agreed the agency needed a digital upgrade.
Another flashpoint in the meeting came during a discussion on the drug remdesivir, which has shown promising early results in clinical trials and which the Trump administration is distributing to hard-hit states.
According to The Post, one official in the meeting announced that the government had already shipped the drug to seven states. The news reportedly caught Birx and others by surprise, since they had not yet decided which states should be prioritized.
“Why would you do that?” Birx asked the official, according to The Post.