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White House virus expert who was criticised over Thanksgiving trip to retire

Dr Deborah Birx travelled to Delaware with family members from two households.

Image: PA

THE COORDINATOR OF the White House coronavirus taskforce has said she will retire after President-elect Joe Biden’s transition.

Dr Deborah Birx came under criticism after it emerged this week that she went on a Thanksgiving trip with family members, against official advice not to travel over the holiday period.

The day after Thanksgiving, she travelled to one of her properties in Delaware with members of her family from two households. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had discouraged indoor activity involving members of different households.

In an interview with US news network Newsy this week, Dr Birx said she is willing to work with the Biden transition as long as she is needed, but then she will retire.

“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 utilise whatever information I had from confronting epidemics around the globe,” she said.

She said this last week has been particularly hard on her family.

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“We never visited anyone, we never had anyone into the household. It was the same situation [as] if we had been here at home, but because of the perception it created, we obviously will not do that through any of the holiday seasons,” she said.

“This experience has been a bit overwhelming. It’s been very difficult on my family. I think what was done in the last week to my family, you know, they didn’t choose this for me. They’ve tried to be supportive, but to drag my family into this.”

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