Dr. Deborah Birx Visited Family on Thanksgiving Despite Her Own Warning Against Travel

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Amid an uptick of COVID-19 cases before the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, warned Americans to “be vigilant” and limit festive gatherings to those in “your immediate household.”

According to Breitbart, however, it seems Dr. Birx joined the ranks of several other authorities contradicting their own guidance with regard to gathering amid the pandemic, traveling to visit with family at her vacation home in Delaware.

The day following Thanksgiving, Dr. Birx reportedly traveled to one of her vacation properties on Fenwick Island, alongside three generations of her family from two different households.

In Birx’s case, following her own caution to avoid those outside your household is a bit complicated, given that she owns several homes in which several of her family members reside.

Breitbart explains:

Even in Birx’s everyday life, there are challenges meeting that standard. She and her husband have a home in Washington. She also owns a home in nearby Potomac, Maryland, where her elderly parents, and her daughter and family live, and where Birx visits intermittently. In addition, the children’s other grandmother, who is 77, also regularly travels to the Potomac house and returns to her 92-year-old husband near Baltimore.

Birx’s own experiences underline the complexity and difficulty of trying to navigate the perils of the pandemic while balancing a job, family and health, especially among essential workers like her.

For her part, Birx offered a statement on her holiday travels after the Associated Press pointed out the apparent hypocrisy.

“I did not go to Delaware for the purpose of celebrating Thanksgiving,” Birx explained, insisting that she made her two-day visit to deal with the winterization of the property ahead of a potential sale.

Although she did share a meal with her family, Birx said that everyone on her Delaware trip belongs to her “immediate household,” even though they live in two different homes.

Several of Birx’s peers in public health, however, believe she must be held to a higher standard.

“To me this disqualifies her from any future government health position,” said Dr. Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at the Georgetown Center for Global Health Science and Security. “It’s a terrible message for someone in public health to be sending to the American people.”

Lawrence Gostin, a public health expert at Georgetown University’s law school and a colleague of Birx’s of many years, said that Birx’s travel undercuts efforts to encourage Americans to comply with public health guidelines.

“It’s extraordinarily important for the leaders of the coronavirus response to model the behavior that they recommend to the public,” Gostin said, according to Breitbart. “We lose faith in our public health officials if they are saying these are the rules but they don’t apply to me.”

Update: Dr. Birx has since announced that she plans to retire, citing the backlash over her holiday traveling.

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