Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator, reportedly urged “much more aggressive action” against the coronavirus in an internal memo to Trump administration officials offering a bleak assessment of the pandemic still raging across the country—as the president continues to insist the U.S. has COVID-19 under control. “We are entering the most concerning and most deadly phase of this pandemic… leading to increasing mortality,” Birx warned in the Nov. 2 report, which was obtained by The Washington Post. “This is not about lockdowns—it hasn’t been about lockdowns since March or April. It’s about an aggressive balanced approach that is not being implemented.” Trump has downplayed masks and repeatedly insisted that skyrocketing case numbers are the result of increased testing. In her report, Birx explicitly shoots those theories down, saying, “Half of the United States is in the red or orange zone for cases despite flat or declining testing.” “[C]onsistent messaging about uniform use of masks, physical distancing and hand washing with profound limitation on indoor gatherings” is “essential,” her report adds, according to the Post. Birx also pointed out that more than 100,000 new cases will be reported each day in the U.S. this week.
“There is an absolute necessity of the Administration to use this moment to ask the American people to wear masks, physical distance, and avoid gatherings in both public and private spaces,” she said.