As a second wave of the Wuhan coronavirus strikes, members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, including Drs. Deborah Birx and Anthony Fauci, have advised Americans not to travel or gather with family or anyone outside "your immediate household" during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. The concern, they say, is these events will further spread the virus.
"Travel may increase your chance of spreading and getting COVID-19," the CDC website states. "CDC continues to recommend postponing travel and staying home, as this is the best way to protect yourself and others this year."
If traveling by bus, train, or airplane where social distancing can't take place or traveling with people you don't live with, the CDC says the travel should be postponed.
"If the answer to any of these questions is 'yes,' you should consider making other plans, such as hosting a virtual gathering or delaying your travel," the website states.
But it turns out that Dr. Birx, the White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator, traveled from Washington, D.C. to another property she has on Fenwick Island in Delaware. Not only did Birx herself make the trip but so did three generations of her family who live in two households, the Associated Press reported.
And not only did Birx travel but her home in Potomac, Maryland, has multiple generations of families living in it, including Birx's elderly parents and her daughter. The doctor has frequently visited the home throughout the course of the pandemic. The other red flag: the kids' 77-year-old grandmother on the outside of the family frequently visits and babysits. She then returns home to her 92-year-old husband who has chronic health issues.
The reason Birx said she traveled to her Delaware property was to work on the home before it hit the market. She claimed her busy schedule prevented her from doing it. But, while she was there, she just so happened to have a family dinner.
“I did not go to Delaware for the purpose of celebrating Thanksgiving,” she said in her statement.
Her excuse for the meal: she labeled everyone at the table as part of her "immediate household" even though it is comprised of two separate households.
The information came to light after Kathleen Flynn, the sister of Birx's son-in-law, expressed concern for her parents. After all, Birx has traveled tens of thousands of miles across the United States to coronavirus "hot spots." Whether or not she quarantined and isolated before visiting the family is unknown.
“She cavalierly violated her own guidance,” Flynn said about Dr. Birx's Thanksgiving activities.
Kathleen's father, Richard, confirmed the Thanksgiving events and the gathering at the Potomac house but dismissed the issue. He said he trusted Birx's decisions.
“Dr. Birx is very conscientious and a very good doctor and scientist from everything I can see,” he explained.
The White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator has said she wants to stay on once President-elect Joe Biden is sworn into office. But some in the medical community have called into question the doctor's ethics and judgment.
“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.”
“We need leadership to be setting an example, especially in terms of things they are asking average Americans to do who are far less privileged than they are,” explained Dr. Abraar Karan, a global health specialist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
It's hard to take our elected officials seriously when they lock down the economy but continue to go out to swanky restaurants and travel to visit with friends and family. The same can be said of medical professionals like Dr. Birx. They want Americans to stay home to stop the spread of the virus, but they can't even follow their own rules. Why should the rest of us?