A new report by a top White House coronavirus adviser warns that the U.S. is entering “most deadly phase of this pandemic,” explicitly contradicting President Donald Trump, who has recently claimed in the country is “rounding the corner” on the pandemic, according to the Washington Post.
The Post reported Monday night that Dr. Deborah Birx issued the internal report earlier in the day, urging “much more aggressive action” and warning that “we are entering the most concerning and most deadly phase of this pandemic … leading to increasing mortality.”
“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,” Birx said in the report, according to the Post. The memo also reportedly warned against the type of mass gatherings that Trump has been holding around the country.
The New York Times later independently confirmed the Post report.
New coronavirus cases have spiked in most states in recent weeks, with the daily number of new cases averaging nearly 83,000 over the past week. Hospitalization and death rates have also risen.
An unnamed administration official told the Post that Birx “feels like she’s being ignored” by the White House and that she has been urging aggressive action for weeks. Birx’s report said there needs to be more consistent messaging from the government on the importance of face masks, social distancing and hand-washing, as well as “profound limitations on social gatherings,” the Post reported.
Trump will reportedly hold an election-night party at the White House with about 400 people, raising more concerns about a super-spreader event.
Her warning echoes those of other public health experts. Over the weekend, Dr. Anthony Fauci told the Post that “We’re in for a whole lot of hurt” unless drastic action is taken to prevent a coronavirus surge this winter. On Sunday, former FDA administrator Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CBS News that “things are getting worse around the country,” specifically warning that Thanksgiving could be an “inflection point” that leads to an even worse situation in December.
To date, the U.S. had recorded nearly 9.3 million coronavirus cases, with more than 231,000 deaths, the most in the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.