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Dr. Deborah Birx tried to put out the fire she ignited by defending her trip to her Delaware vacation home during the Thanksgiving weekend.
The White House coronavirus response coordinator released a statement on Monday that seemed designed to get her off the hook after she came under fire for making the trip, despite publicly urging Americans to stay home due to the coronavirus pandemic.
After insisting that Americans limit their Thanksgiving celebrations to “your immediate household” over the holiday, Birx joined the parade of officials and government leaders who have been advocating strong stay-at-home measures that they have personally ignored. But the coronavirus task force member insisted she did not travel for the purpose of celebrating Thanksgiving.
The day after Thanksgiving, Birx took off for “one of her vacation properties” on Fenwick Island in Delaware, the Associated Press reported.
The outlet added that the health adviser was joined by “three generations of her family from two households” including her husband Paige Reffe, her daughter, son-in-law and two young grandchildren. She quickly sparked backlash for her trip in light of direction from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“People who do not currently live in your housing unit, such as college students who are returning home from school for the holidays, should be considered part of different households,” the CDC advised.
Though Birx “declined to be interviewed” by the AP, she did give a statement about her trip, defending it as a move to get the house ready for a potential sale. Birx explained that she traveled with her “immediate household” and that she did not go “for the purpose of celebrating Thanksgiving” which normally would have had 30 to 40 family members present.
Dr. Deborah Birx says she did not violate COVID recommendations – saying she traveled to Delaware with members of her family she lives with. Statement is from her. pic.twitter.com/ZPMvEQN4Dq
— John Roberts (@johnrobertsFox) December 22, 2020
“Like many Americans, I am the sole caregiver for my parents. They live with me in my immediate household in Potomac, where my daughter and her family reside as well,” Borx said in her statement.
“We did not hold the usual Thanksgiving we have every year which includes 30-40 members of my extended family. In fact, I did not hold a Thanksgiving celebration whatsoever this year,” Birx added, noting that her trip the day after the holiday “solely focused on preparing the property for a potential sale.”
“Members of my immediate household assisted me in that as well,” she said, adding that members of her family could be at risk for the virus so she is “extremely vigilant” in taking precautions.”
“I self isolate. I wear a mask, and I get tested when I interact with them,” the 64-year-old, who has served as the United States Global AIDS Coordinator since 2014,said.
But, coming on the heels of many other leaders and officials defying their own directives and advice, the statement from Birx seemed like another excuse. California Gov. Gavin Newsom, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and others have faced similar backlash for their hypocrisy.
In an interview with CBS’ “Face the Nation” following the holiday, Birx declared that anyone who had gathered for Thanksgiving should assume they are infected and get tested.
Dr. Birx: If you defiantly traveled for Thanksgiving, assume you’re infected with COVID-19 https://t.co/IkyeaCzkk7
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) November 30, 2020
“To me this disqualifies her from any future government health position,” Dr. Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at the Georgetown Center for Global Health Science and Security, told the AP. “It’s a terrible message for someone in public health to be sending to the American people.”
Fox News host Will Cain slammed the “stunning” actions of Birx for revealing “an absolute disdain” for average Americans.
(Source: Fox News)
Twitter users were not impressed with Birx’s statement on Monday and excusing her travel.
— David Lewis (@DavidLewisTN) December 22, 2020
If it requires this many words to say she stayed home and away from family like she told every American to, than she’s lying
— a newsman (@a_newsman) December 22, 2020
— NBS✌️ (@123curler) December 22, 2020
I wish she would be brave enough to say, “I understood the risk and I determined that how I spent my time with my family was a decision that I made knowing the survival rate and that wearing a mask works. We all should be allowed to make personal risk assessments in our lives.”
— quarantine cook (@title9111) December 22, 2020
The point is, she is not afraid.
— Paul Macolino (@paschoolinsure) December 22, 2020
She said DON’T travel from what i remember. Selling a beach house doesn’t sound like an emergency to me.
— Sandy Williams MD (@sandytntn) December 22, 2020
Do as I say not what I do.
— Lp (@Lp80303704) December 22, 2020
So her family is like a lot of others. Except they’re exempt from following the lockdown orders.
— Rene Mathis (@ChasesTv) December 22, 2020
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