The “vast majority” of the nearly 550,000 US COVID-19 deaths could have been prevented with swifter intervention early in the pandemic, according Deborah Birx, the Trump administration’s coronavirus response coordinator at that time.
“I look at it this way. The first time we have an excuse,” Birx said in a CNN documentary that aired last night. “There were about 100,000 deaths that came from that original surge. All of the rest of them, in my mind, could have been mitigated or decreased substantially.”
- A Columbia University study last year found that shutting down 2 weeks earlier would have prevented 84% of deaths from March 15–May 3, 2020.
- Other pandemic experts say Birx herself should have spoken out sooner, but Birx said she had been “censored” and bullied during her tenure, The Guardian reports.
The virus isn’t done yet. US numbers rose 7% over the previous 7-day period, Walensky noted Friday, and the average number of deaths is still hovering around 1,000 a day, according to CNN.