Dr. Deborah Birx, a key member of the White House’s coronavirus task force, sent a sharply-worded memo to the administration over her concerns about the rise in coronavirus cases, the New York Times and Washington Post reported on Monday.
The memo comes as confirmed coronavirus cases are at record levels in the US. Cases in recent weeks have risen sharply, and a rise in hospitalizations have corresponded in recent days. Johns Hopkins University data shows cases are especially high through the middle of the US.
In the memo obtained by the Washington Post and New York Times, Birx said that “aggressive action” is needed. While many states implemented shutdowns in the spring as cases surged, especially in the northeast, Birx was not calling for economic shutdowns in her memo.
“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, according to the reports.
The New York Times reported that Birx also warned against large political rallies, which President Donald Trump has been holding in recent weeks as the presidential campaign comes to a conclusion on Tuesday.
Late last week, Stanford researchers said they observed a spike of coronavirus cases in communities where Trump held large rallies that had no social distancing and few people wearing masks.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, a fellow member of the White House’s coronavirus task force, has become increasingly vocal as he called for an “abrupt change” in the United States’ handling of the coronavirus in an interview with the Washington Post last week.
"We're in for a whole lot of hurt. It's not a good situation," Fauci told The Washington Post on Friday. "All the stars are aligned in the wrong place as you go into the fall and winter season, with people congregating at home indoors. You could not possibly be positioned more poorly."
His recent comments have put Fauci in disfavor with Trump and his supporters. As Trump supporters began chanting “Fire Fauci” on Sunday, Trump hinted he would after the election.
"Don't tell anybody, but let me wait until a little bit after the election,” Trump said.
Fauci has been the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, and has served as an infectious disease expert to every administration since Reagan.