White House Coronavirus Task coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx admitted Sunday that she broke her own COVID-related travel guidance on Thanksgiving, gathering with three generations of family from two households. She was not “celebrating,” however, Birx assured the public in a statement, but “winterizing” one of her homes.
Birx elaborated Tuesday during an interview with Newsy on the toll pandemic precautions, like the ones she doles out to Americans, have affected her family. The task force leader said her parents had become depressed and “stopped eating” over the isolation — isolation Birx has recommended time and time again.
“My parents stopped eating and drinking because they were so depressed,” the 64-year-old said during the interview.
“My daughter hasn’t left that house in 10 months, my parents have been isolated for 10 months. They’ve become deeply depressed,” Birx added, noting the need to “recover from the trauma of the last 10 months.”
Many online and news outlets like the New York Post tied Birx’s comments to her Thanksgiving rule-breaking, since Birx’s parents were present at her vacation home.
“Birx said she took her Thanksgiving jaunt to Delaware because her parents were so down in the dumps, they ‘stopped eating and drinking’ — a justification ripped by people who said it was her coronavirus restrictions that prevented them from seeing their own dying loved ones,” the Post reported, highlighting online backlash directed at Birx:
“My dad died of Covid surrounded by people in hazmat suits. He didn’t understand,” writer Mark Aldrich replied to Newsy’s interview.
“My mom couldn’t visit him. She is depressed. Birx’ parents felt depressed? I’m sorry. She still has a one parent surplus over my sister & me,” he wrote.
Peg Manley tweeted: “My mother died in March, we still haven’t buried her.”
Birx “hasn’t a clue,” Manley wrote. “We have all gone without family. Without celebrations.”
A Twitter user named Kristopher said the isolation was even worse for his 78-year-old father, who lives alone.
“I haven’t been able to TRAVEL to see him in over 10 months. I’ve listened to the experts.
“WE CAN’T ALL DO WHATEVER THE F–K WE WANT and hope to defeat COVID,” he wrote.
“Why are you and your family special? At least your parents and daughter aren’t alone.”
As noted by The Daily Wire, Birx repeatedly urged Americans to “increase their vigilance at this moment” during a press briefing on Nov. 19 “due to the number of increasing coronavirus cases around the country and the potential for a post-Thanksgiving surge due to small family gatherings.”
Part of the guidance from Birx, The Daily Wire noted, “was to ‘limit interactions indoors to immediate households.'”
During the Newsy interview, Birx said that she will retire after she’s helped the Biden transition team.
“I’ve worked since 1980 in the federal government, first through the military, then through HHS and then detailed to the State Department and detailed here,” she said.
“I will be helpful in any role that people think I can be helpful in, and then I will retire. … I only came into the White House to ensure that our COVID response could utilize whatever information I had from confronting epidemics around the globe,” Birx added.