Americans don't need mandates to keep them safe from COVID, they need information and treatments and aren't getting them, Dr. Deborah Birx, the coordinator of the White House Coronavirus Task Force during the Trump administration, said on Newsmax Tuesday.
"We're not giving Americans the tools that they need to protect their families," Birx told Newsmax's "National Report." "Americans are smart. They know what to do. We don't need mandates. We need knowledge in the communities and access to those tools, which rural America doesn't have."
It is not just a matter of vaccines, said Birx, as "rural Americans don't have access to Paxlovid. Most of them don't even know that Paxlovid could keep them out of the hospital."
And, she said she's frustrated that there are no home testing methods available to test people for RSV and flu, which is hitting America's children hard.
"We're just not taking these respiratory RNA viruses seriously," said Birx. "There's no reason we don't have an at-home COVID, RSV, and flu test. Parents want to know what their children have. They know RSV is very serious for their 1-year-old and they want to protect them."
Meanwhile, where COVID is concerned, "not only are we not using the first-generation tools effectively to ensure that no one is hospitalized or dies, we're not generating the second-generation vaccines, the monoclonal antibodies, and antivirals that we're going to need in order to protect Americans."
Her comments come after White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is retiring from his role as longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, in weekend interviews defended his record and insisted the pandemic has not yet come to an end.
"I think what he was referring to was early on," said Birx. "The fatality rate among people over 70 was 30%. I mean, we didn't have any tools, and we didn't know what to do, so March and April  were very tough, particularly on those over 70."
But after the private sector started working with the government and hospital and home-based testing were developed, and when the first generation of monoclonal antibodies was made available, matters started to change, said Birx.
"All that happened within the first three to four to six months, and then nine months for the vaccine," said Birx. "I think that was the first generation.
Meanwhile, protests are rising in China over the resumption of lockdowns, and Birx said they also have the capabilities to keep people from being hospitalized and dying.
"We're way past the need to do these kinds of lockdowns," said Birx. "The Trump administration moved past those at the beginning of April  when they put out the reopening America guidelines that started towards the end of April and we never went back to shutting down businesses and schools."
Since then, governors learned how to keep the population safe and keep businesses moving, said Birx.
"We've learned from that and we know that schools should have stayed open," she said. "But I worry today that we're still not getting the tools and the information to Americans so that they can protect their families."
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