Despite repeatedly urging Americans to stay home over the holidays to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, Deborah Birx, the coronavirus response coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force, traveled to Delaware the day after Thanksgiving to gather with her daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren at her vacation home, the AP reports.
Birx, who said she was in Delaware to winterize her house, insisted in a statement that everyone on her Delaware trip was part of her “immediate household,” although she acknowledged that they do not live in the same house. The group reportedly shared a meal together; it’s unclear whether this was indoors or outdoors. Birx owns at least three homes: the property in Delaware where she and her family traveled after Thanksgiving; the house she shares with her husband in Washington, D.C.; and a house in Potomac, Maryland, a multigenerational home where her parents, her daughter, her son-in-law, and her grandchildren live. Her son-in-law’s mother, 77, also visits the house in Potomac regularly to babysit, before returning to her own home, which she shares with her 92-year-old husband. That means Birx’s coronavirus pod is already least 10 people, four of whom are older, across three houses. Adding to the risk, Birx has been traveling all over the country as part of her official duties and has an office in the West Wing of the White House, where CDC recommendations continue to be ignored, despite several COVID-19 outbreaks.
The story came to the AP’s attention via a tip from Kathleen Flynn, whose brother is Birx’s son-in-law. Flynn, who is estranged from her brother, was concerned that Birx’s travels would put their parents at risk, telling the AP, “She cavalierly violated her own guidance.” The news comes as Birx is reportedly seeking a role in the Biden administration, despite concerns that she had already shredded her credibility with the public by not challenging Trump’s most ludicrous and dangerous lies and misinformation more forcefully. For more on how we should feel about Dr. Deborah Birx’s travels, we go now to Dr. Deborah Birx, coming to us via tape delay from her Dec. 7 appearance on Meet the Press:
Harsh words for Dr. Deborah Birx from Dr. Deborah Birx, particularly this passage:
The gatherings that we saw in Thanksgiving will lead to a surge. It will happen this week and next week. And we cannot go into the holiday season—Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa—with the same kind of attitude that those gatherings don’t apply to me. They apply to everybody. If you don’t want to lose your grandparents, your aunts. Let’s be clear—seventy, if you’re over seventy, twenty percent of those who contract COVID are hospitalized. And still ten percent of them are lost. So if you have anyone in your family with comorbidities or over seventy, you cannot do those things. You cannot gather with your mask off.
As for the next steps Birx should take, here’s some advice from Dr. Deborah Birx, speaking to Face the Nation on Nov. 29 from the vacation home in Delaware where she was gathering with her family:
We know people may have made mistakes over the Thanksgiving time period. So if you’re young and you gathered, you need to be tested about five to 10 days later. But you need to assume that you’re infected and not go near your grandparents and aunts and others without a mask. We’re really asking families to even mask indoors if they chose to gather during Thanksgiving and others went across the country or even into the next state. And if you’re over 65 or you have comorbidities and you gathered at Thanksgiving, if you develop any symptoms, you need to be tested immediately because we know that our therapeutics work best, both our antivirals and our monoclonal antibodies, work best very early in disease.
The coronavirus pandemic has made it clear that a portion of our elite think that guidelines, rules, and laws made for the rest of the population simply don’t apply to them, even when those laws are more scientific than criminal. So far, COVID-19 has killed more than 315,000 Americans.