The first thing that Vice President Mike Pence did after being tasked by President Trump to head the White House Coronavirus Task Force was to bring on Dr. Deborah Birx as his response coordinator. He couldn’t have made a better choice.
She may be unknown to most of us, but she has already served a distinguished career before being asked to help in the current fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Birx is an ambassador-at-large for the U.S. Department of State, holding the title of the Coordinator of the United States Government Activities to Combat HIV/AIDS and U.S. Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy. She has spent over three decades dedicated to HIV/AIDS immunology, vaccine research and global health.
As an M.D., she has been involved in fighting the world’s AIDS epidemic and other global diseases since the mid-1980s. Birx is board-certified in internal medicine, allergy and immunology, and diagnostic and clinical laboratory immunology. Working for the Department of Defense since 1985, the doctor rose to the rank of Colonel before retiring from the military.
At the White House daily press briefings on the coronavirus, Dr. Birx is the epitome of professionalism and calmness in an otherwise stress-inducing environment.
Responding to some rather desperate media reports suggesting that the pandemic had reached such a stage here in the U.S. that hospitals may have to start implementing a blanket “do not resuscitate” order for those dying of the disease, she urged calm.
“There is no situation in the United States right now that warrants that kind of discussion,” Birx said. “We don’t have any evidence of that right now.”
Flu epidemics are especially personal to Birx because her own family was touched by the 1918 Spanish flu. Her grandmother, Leah, caught the Spanish flu at school and infected her mother (Birx’s great-grandmother), who died from it. Birx says her grandmother lived with feelings of guilt about that for 88 years before she passed.
With the media reporting every new projection of the pandemic’s growth – with an emphasis on the most alarming ones – it’s nice to have experts at the tip of the spear who know what they’re talking about. Along with Dr. Anthony Fauci, another expert we have all become familiar with during this pandemic, Dr. Birx’s professional statements are becoming “must-see TV” when it comes to updates on the virus and the global fight against it.
Let’s continue to pray for the ultimate success of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, and Dr. Birx personally, as they work hard for the sake of all of us.