Dr. Deborah Birx is putting the response in her White House coronavirus response coordinator title.
After The Associated Press learned of a Thanksgiving weekend trip that she and her relatives made to her Delaware vacation home, Birx made a brief initial response to AP that did not work as she hoped so she went full response Monday night.
After giving a pre-Thanksgiving plea to Americans to “be vigilant” and keep holiday interactions to “your immediate household,” Birx spent two days with family from two households at her Delaware home.
Her second response began with noting that she is her parents’ caregiver and they live with her in Potomac, Md., where her daughter and her family also live. She shared that she normally has a Thanksgiving celebration of 30-40 members but did not have any this year.
“My trip to Delaware after the Thanksgiving holiday solely focused on preparing the property for a potential sale,” Birx said in the statement. “Members of my immediate household assisted in that as well.
“As some members of my immediate family could be at risk for COVID-19, I am extremely vigilant in taking all precautions to protect them. I self-isolate, I wear a mask, and I get tested when I interact with them. My family and I follow and practice CDC guidelines, and I encourage all Americans, especially those in situations similar to mine, to do the same.”
That trip came under scrutiny because it occurred as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged Americans to not travel.
“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,” a CDC statement warned.
The sister of Birx’s son-in-law told AP she “cavalierly violated her own guidance.” Birx’s gathering included her husband, a daughter, a son-in-law and two grandchildren. She maintained to AP that it was her “immediate household” but acknowledged they live in two homes.
Whatever the reality, perception is stronger.