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The coronavirus has claimed nearly 550,000 lives in the United States since February 2020. And according to one of the nation’s top health experts, most of those deaths could’ve been prevented.

Dr. Deborah Birx, who served as the Trump administration’s coronavirus coordinator, made the claim during a recent sit-down with CNN chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta. Birx was among the medical experts who was interviewed for the network’s upcoming documentary, Covid War: The Pandemic Doctors Speak Out.

During their sit-down, Gupta asked Birx how much of an impact early mitigation efforts would’ve made on the country’s COVID-19 death toll. She told Gupta the former administration could’ve saved hundreds of thousands of lives had it taken stronger action in the early days of the pandemic.

“I look at it this way: The first time, we have an excuse. There were about 100,000 deaths that came from that original surge,” Birx said. “All of the rest of them, in my mind, could have been mitigated or decreased substantially.”

Just days after President Joe Biden was sworn into office, Birx admitted she “always” considered quitting Trump’s coronavirus task force.

“I mean, why would you want to put yourself through that every day? Colleagues of mine that I’ve known for decades — decades — in that one experience, because I was in the White House, decided that I had become this political person, even though they’ve known me forever,” she told Face the Nation in January. “I had to ask myself every morning: Is there something that I think I can do that would be helpful in responding to this pandemic? And it’s something I asked myself every night.”

Covid War: The Pandemic Doctors Speak Out airs at 9 p.m. ET Sunday.