News Outlets Examine U.S. Government’s Response To COVID-19 Pandemic, Highlight Role Of Deborah Birx, 2018 State Department Cable Expressing Concern Over Wuhan Lab Personnel

CNN: How Dr. Deborah Birx’s political skills made her the most powerful person on the coronavirus task force
“As the relationship between Dr. Anthony Fauci and President Donald Trump publicly disintegrated over the past few months, Dr. Deborah Birx, Fauci’s former mentee, solidified her standing inside the White House, to the point that sources familiar with the situation say she has essentially taken charge of running the task force day to day…” (Salama et al., 7/17).

New York Times: Inside Trump’s Failure: The Rush to Abandon Leadership Role on the Virus
“Each morning at 8 as the coronavirus crisis was raging in April, Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, convened a small group of aides to steer the administration through what had become a public health, economic, and political disaster. … But their ultimate goal was to shift responsibility for leading the fight against the pandemic from the White House to the states. … Over a critical period beginning in mid-April, President Trump and his team convinced themselves that the outbreak was fading, that they had given state governments all the resources they needed to contain its remaining ’embers’ and that it was time to ease up on the lockdown. … Mr. Trump’s bet that the crisis would fade away proved wrong. But an examination of the shift in April and its aftermath shows that the approach he embraced was not just a misjudgment. Instead, it was a deliberate strategy that he would stick doggedly to as evidence mounted that, in the absence of strong leadership from the White House, the virus would continue to infect and kill large numbers of Americans…” (Shear et al., 7/18).

New York Times: Inside the Failure: 5 Takeaways on Trump’s Effort to Shift Responsibility
“…Interviews with more than two dozen senior administration officials, state and local health officials, and a review of emails and documents, show how a critical period in mid-April set the nation on a course to a new surge, with the United States logging more than 65,000 new cases of the virus each day. Here are some of the key findings…” (Shear, 7/18).

Washington Post: The crisis that shocked the world: America’s response to the coronavirus
“…Six months after the coronavirus appeared in America, the nation has failed spectacularly to contain it. The country’s ineffective response has shocked observers around the planet. Many countries have rigorously driven infection rates nearly to zero. In the United States, coronavirus transmission is out of control. The national response is fragmented, shot through with political rancor and culture-war divisiveness. … How the world’s richest country got into this dismal situation is a complicated tale that exposes the flaws and fissures in a nation long proud of its ability to meet cataclysmic challenges…” (Achenbach et al., 7/19).

Washington Post: State Department releases cable that launched claims that coronavirus escaped from Chinese lab
“The State Department has released an internal cable from 2018 detailing the concerns of U.S. Embassy officials in China about a lack of adequately trained personnel at a virology lab in Wuhan, the city that later became the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak. Leaked contents of the cable sparked unproven speculation from senior U.S. officials beginning in April that the outbreak occurred as a result of an accident at the Wuhan Institute of Virology…” (Hudson/Jones, 7/17).

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