Dr. Deborah Birx, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, on Sunday criticized a New York Times report suggesting she was "more central than publicly known" to the administration's judgment that the virus' severity was diminishing, not becoming worse.
"I have never been called pollyannish, or nonscientific, or non-data driven," Birx said during an appearance on CNN's "State of the Union."
"And I will stake my 40-year career on those fundamental principles of utilizing data to really implement better programs to save more lives," adding, though, that she could have "brought forth the data" to back up her analysis had the Times reached out to her.
Birx's colleagues described her as dedicated and hardworking in the Times report, but said her model-based assessment did not account for how President Donald Trump's push to return the country to normal would change the measures that kept the infection numbers down, including social distancing.
The article also quoted Dr. Anthony Fauci, a friend of Birx's for 30 years, as saying she was "a different species" than him and more political, while he often commented that his darker assessment about the spread of virus made him more like the "skunk at the garden party."
Birx on Sunday also said the federal government's response to an increase in cases reset about five to six weeks ago "when we saw this starting to happen across the South."
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