The highest-ranking scientific adviser to the Trump White House warned in August 2020 that prematurely reopening schools and businesses would lead to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, according to emails released Friday by the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis.
The emails were part of the subcommittee’s year-end staff report, which concluded that the Trump administration made “deliberate efforts to undermine the nation’s coronavirus response” and “purposely” sought to “reduce the amount of testing being conducted.”
Rick Bright, the former head of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, who warned the public in 2020 that Trump’s policies would lead to “unprecedented illness and fatalities,” said the report showed “criminal actions.”
The “smoking gun” of the House Committee’s report was an email from White House coronavirus coordinator Deborah Birx, who warned that embracing proposals to end masking and social distancing would lead to the deaths of hundreds of thousands more people.
“With our current mitigation scenario we end up near 300k by Christmas and 500k by the time we have vaccine,” she wrote. “Without masks and social distancing in public and homes we end up with twice as many deaths.”
Birx’s email was sent in response to plans by Trump aides to meet with proponents of “herd immunity,” including Jay Bhattacharya and Martin Kulldorff, who would go on to author the Great Barrington Declaration, a manifesto by the free-market American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) calling for the reopening of schools and businesses while there was still widespread community transmission of COVID-19.
However, instead of warning the public that the resident of the White House, a known admirer of the mass murderer Adolf Hitler, planned to kill hundreds of thousands of Americans, Birx offered to “go out of town or whatever gives the WH cover” for the White House’s planned meeting with the “herd immunity” proponents.
The Great Barrington Declaration, published on October 4, called for:
Those who are not vulnerable should immediately be allowed to resume life as normal... Schools and universities should be open for in-person teaching. Extracurricular activities, such as sports, should be resumed. Young low-risk adults should work normally, rather than from home. Restaurants and other businesses should open. Arts, music, sport and other cultural activities should resume.
On October 13, 2020, the New York Times published an article headlined, “White House embraces a declaration from scientists that opposes lockdowns and relies on ‘herd immunity.’”
The Times report says that two White House officials—likely Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Trump adviser Scott Atlas—“cited” the Great Barrington Declaration, and that it had been “embraced” by the White House.
In what was presumably the same anonymous media briefing, the Washington Post cited White House officials as saying, “The plan is endorsing what the president’s policy has been for months,” which includes calls to “open schools and businesses.”
In fact, the White House officials said, states throughout the country, at the instigation of the Trump administration, rapidly reopened schools and businesses in April, with most restrictions dropped by the end of May.
This quickly produced a massive resurgence of the pandemic, with daily new cases reaching over 300,000 in January 2021, and daily deaths hitting a record of more than 4,000.
The November presidential election took place at the height of this massive surge, with presidential candidate Joe Biden declaring that Trump “says that we’re learning to live with it. People are learning to die with it.”
Biden pledged to “follow the science” and advocate universal masking and widespread investments in contact tracing.
Instead, Biden discouraged mask-wearing, saying, by April 2021, “Take your mask off. You’ve earned the right.” Biden called for the full reopening of schools and businesses and urged vaccinated people not to social distance. At the same time, Biden starved resources for testing and contact tracing in the United States, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stopped reporting on breakthrough COVID-19 infections.
These policies have produced a massive resurgence of the pandemic with the Delta, and now Omicron, variants of COVID-19.
When asked by this author to comment on the relationship of the Great Barrington Declaration to the Biden Administration’s policies, AIER research director Phil Magness replied that “many of the GBD’s recommendations have become reality in both red & blue states as they’ve reopened.”
This is a hugely important admission. It serves as a confirmation, directly from the source, that the policy that Deborah Birx, at the time the highest-ranking White House scientist, said would lead to the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives, has in fact become the dominant policy in the United States.