WASHINGTON - Members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force expressed concerns with each other about misinformation being shared with the president, according to emails obtained by a congressional subcommittee and shared with NBC News.
One of the emails that will be made public at a congressional hearing Thursday morning is by Deborah Birx, who served as Covid response coordinator under President Donald Trump. Birx expressed concern about Scott Atlas, a radiologist who joined the White House in August 2020 as a special adviser, as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Atlas rejected mainstream mitigation measures, such as mask wearing, social distancing and widespread testing, in favor of herd immunity as a means of protecting the population from the pandemic.
Birx wrote before listing Atlas views that Case identification is bad for the President s re-election and that testing should only be of the sick, a very dangerous meeting in the OVAL yesterday. Birx will testify before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronaviruses Crisis at 10 a.m. It will be her first public testimony about her time in the Trump White House.
Birx referred to Atlas positions as parallel thoughts and misinformation in another August 2020 email. Birx wrote to Fauci, Robert Redfield, then Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Seema Verma, who headed the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Birx told the subcommittee that she was pressured to make changes to some of the weekly data reports she sent to state and local officials, including changes to masking and indoor capacity restrictions, which caused her to make the recommendations less obvious to White House officials skimming the reports.
She testified that recommendations that would raise objections from the Trump White House were referring to the things that there were issues with in the second part of a sentence.
The emails are going to be released by the subcommittee along with full transcripts from Birx's closed-door interview with the panel in October.