Dr. Deborah Birx. Joshua Roberts/Getty Images
Dr. Deborah Birx, one of the members of White House coronavirus task force, traveled during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, despite warnings from health officials to avoid doing so.
Around the time of Thanksgiving, Birx had been among the health officials giving such warnings to the American public.
But Birx skirted the guidance and took a trip to Delaware during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, the Associated Press reported.
There, she mingled indoors and had a meal with family members who live in different households.
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Dr. Deborah Birx, a key member of the White House coronavirus task force, traveled and saw some members of her extended family during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend despite urging Americans to avoid doing the same.
Birx went to Delaware the day after Thanksgiving, the Associated Press reported. There, she spent time with her husband, daughter, son-in-law, and two grandchildren. In a statement to the AP, Birx said these were people who are part of her “immediate household.” But they do not all live in the same home.
Leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday, Birx was one of the health officials urging Americans to sacrifice traveling this year to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
“It looked like things were starting to improve in our northern plain states, and now with Thanksgiving, we’re worried that all of that will be reversed,” Birx said on CBS News’s “Face the Nation.” People should “take it upon yourself to be restrictive” and selective about the ways they pass their holiday time, she said.
“If your family traveled, you have to assume that you were exposed and you became infected and you really need to get tested in the next week,” Birx added.
The White House did not immediately return a request for comment from Business Insider asking if Birx had received a test upon returning from her travels.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also warned against traveling during this holiday season. Still, a whopping 1.1 million Americans traveled in airplanes on the final day of the Thanksgiving weekend.
The CDC also discourages indoor interaction with people from different households. “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 webpage states.
Birx told the AP she had not gathered with her family in Delaware “for the purpose of celebrating Thanksgiving.” Instead, she said, she went to prepare the Delaware home ahead of a potential sale. But Birx and the other family members did share a meal together.
One of her relatives complained about her travel, telling the AP that Birx chose to skirt the guidance and it’s caused “family friction.”
“She cavalierly violated her own guidance,” said Kathleen Flynn, the sister of a brother married to Birx’s daughter.
Meanwhile, Birx’s father, Richard, defended her. “Dr. Birx is very conscientious and a very good doctor and scientist from everything I can see,” he told the AP.
Birx has been trying to secure a spot in the incoming Biden administration. She’s reached out to various Biden aides to make a case for herself. The Biden transition team did not immediately return a request for comment.
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