Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, on Sunday rebuked government officials who’ve “parroted” President Trump and others in his administration by flouting public health guidance as the country records more than 281,000 deaths from COVID-19.
During an interview on “Meet the Press” on Sunday morning, Birx was asked whether public officials are thinking that the warnings she’s issued throughout the year are “overselling it,” given how Trump and others in his administration have repeatedly flouted measures that would help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Birx replied that she’s “heard that personally,” citing how in addition to meeting with healthcare providers, governors and mayors, she also “meets with the community.”
Birx then aired her frustration over community members who are “parroting back” the “myths” that mitigation efforts for COVID-19 don’t work.
“And so I hear community members parroting back those situations, parroting back that masks don’t work, parroting back that we should work towards herd immunity, parroting back that gatherings don’t result in super-spreading events,” Birx said. “And I think our job is to constantly say those are myths. They are wrong, and you can see the evidence base.”
Birx took aim at governors and mayors in the Sun Belt who’ve let their guard down on mitigation efforts for COVID-19.
“And right now, across the Sun Belt, we have governors and mayors who have cases equivalent to what they had in the summertime yet aren’t putting in the same policies and mitigations that they put in the summer, that they know changed the course of this pandemic across the South,” Birx said. “So it is frustrating because not only do we know what works, governors and mayors used those tools to stem the tide in the spring and the summer.”
Asked about her thoughts on the White House and the State Department throwing holiday parties indoors this month — which contradicts guidance that public experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci and herself urge the public to comply with — Birx did not call out the Trump administration, but emphasized the importance of understanding the dire situation the country is in with surging COVID-19 cases.
“I think it’s really important that every single person understands that the way this virus is spread is if you’re with anyone indoors without a mask, that’s a viral spreading opportunity,” Birx said. “If you’re outdoors and hugging and kissing individuals, that is a viral spreading opportunity. We have to really understand how contagious, how infectious this virus is.”
Birx went on to urge the public to “listen right now to what we know works, which is masks, physical distancing, washing your hands, but not gathering” and to recognize that “this is the worst event that this country will face.”
Birx also stressed that although a COVID-19 vaccine is “critical,” it won’t “save us from this current surge.”
“Only we can save us from this current surge. And we know precisely what to do,” Birx said. “So, if you have loved ones that you want to protect you have to follow these guidelines now.”
Watch Birx’s remarks below:
WATCH: Dr. Deborah Birx dispels misinformation around Covid risks, says “our job is to constantly say, ‘those are myths.’” #MTP
“It is frustrating because not only do we know what works, governors and mayors used those tools to stem the tide in the spring and the summer.” pic.twitter.com/EETmbg1z2D
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) December 6, 2020