Center for Vaccine Development director Dr. Peter Hotez said Tuesday on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” that former President Donald Trump’s mishandling of the COVID pandemic caused a “catastrophic and needless” loss of life.
Cooper asked, “I want to change topics quickly and ask you about comments made by former Trump coronavirus coordinator, Dr. Deborah Birx to a congressional subcommittee when interviewed earlier this month about the former administration’s handling of the virus, she said the 2020 campaign, quote, ‘Took people’s time away from and distracted them away from the pandemic.’ Dr. Birx also said she believes more than 130,000 American lives could have been saved if more mitigation measures had been put in effect. I mean, which is a pretty stunning statement, 130,000 needless deaths. I am wondering what your reaction was to that?”
Hotez said, “Well, you know, when I first heard it, my first thought was, you know, what President Trump did in the White House, the West Wing, and the Oval Office did was far more than be distracted because of the campaign. They actively undermined COVID-19 efforts. They launched a horrific disinformation campaign in the spring and summer of 2020 claiming COVID was a hoax, nothing more than the flu, spectacularizing the benefits of hydroxychloroquine, saying hospital admissions were just catchup and elective surgeries and that all was incredibly damaging and caused a lot of loss of life, discrediting masks.”
He added, “Then, in parallel, what they did was they ultimately refused to launch a national program to control COVID-19. What they did, instead, was leave it to the states. They never put the federal government out in front, and the consequences of that were the states didn’t know how to do this. So, the loss of life was catastrophic and needless.”
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