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Trump’s virus adviser says some in White House saw pandemic as ‘hoax’

Then-US president Donald Trump (R) listens as Dr. Deborah Birx, then-White House coronavirus response coordinator, speaks about the coronavirus, in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on April 22, 2020, in Washington. (AP/ Alex Brandon)
Then-US president Donald Trump (R) listens as Dr. Deborah Birx, then-White House coronavirus response coordinator, speaks about the coronavirus, in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on April 22, 2020, in Washington. (AP/ Alex Brandon)

Dr. Deborah Birx says that when she was coordinator of former US president Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force, she had to grapple with COVID-19 deniers in the White House and that someone gave the president “parallel” streams of data that conflicted with hers.

Defending her tenure, Birx tells CBS’s “Face the Nation” that she was at times censored by the Trump administration, but denies ever withholding information.

Birx says she would see Trump “presenting graphs that I never made” and that “someone out there or someone inside was creating a parallel set of data and graphics that were shown to the president.”

She adds that, in the White House, “there were people who definitely believed that this was a hoax.”

Birx does not identify the COVID-19 deniers and says she does not know who was presenting the parallel data to Trump, but says she realizes now that Trump coronavirus adviser Dr. Scott Atlas was providing some of it.

Birx said in December that she would retire, but was willing to first help US President Joe Biden’s team with its coronavirus response, as needed. More than 25 million people have been infected with the coronavirus, and at least 418,000 people have died in the US since the pandemic began.

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