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Dr. Birx says November in-person voting should be as easy as going to Starbucks

White House coronavirus coordinator tells Just the News she is confident about ability to keep voters safe, has gotten death threats since March.

Published: August 21, 2020 10:55pm

Updated: August 22, 2020 8:03am

The doctor coordinating the White House Coronavirus Task Force says she believes it will be safe for voters to go to the polls in November.

“Well, I can tell you it has been safe for me to go to Starbucks and pick up my order,” Dr. Deborah Birx told Just The News in an interview when asked about in-person voting.

Birx has been traveling the country by car and one of her practices is to visit as many Starbucks as she can in an attempt to gauge whether people are wearing masks and socially distancing. She said her coffee experiences in states that have higher than normal COVID-19 cases, has led her to a conclusion about voting.

“If you go into Starbucks in the middle of Texas and Alabama and Mississippi that have very high case rates, then I can't say that it would be different waiting in line in the polls,” Birx said. 

Of course, she cautions that masks must be worn and social distancing must be adhered to. “I know there's a way but you really do have to pay attention,” she added.

Birx spoke Friday afternoon at the White House on a myriad of topics. While much of the discussion centered on vaccines and a potential timetable for a return to normal, she also revealed something personal: she’s been a victim of harassment and threats via technology.

“I do get death threats, and I get text messages that are horrific,” she said. “I get stuff sent to my home where my daughters are that is shocking and their phones get shocking messages. All of that has been happening since March.”

In a way, Birx has a thankless job as she tries to navigate not just the reality of a deadly virus but the political realities as well. Most of the criticism has come from liberal Democrats who have criticized her for not doing enough to set the record straight on some of the president’s medical claims.

Birx, who has served in both Republican and Democratic administrations for decades, said she will soldier on. “You just have to stay true to your own personal values,” she said. “I've never been asked to cross that line. I believe when people look back that they'll find out that I personally never crossed that line.”

As it relates to the larger fight against the coronavirus, she’s taking an approach that doesn’t look too far ahead. She’s concentrating on the fall right now.

“I think Americans are getting fatigued,” she acknowledged. As we head into a new season, she recommended that people get the flu vaccine as scientists work speedily on a COVID-19 vaccine. She expects results of vaccine testing this fall.

“Vaccines are being manufactured and that's going well,” she said.

Right now, Dr. Birx said there are discussions underway about which Americans should be vaccinated first when a vaccine is eventually approved for use. “Certainly, we would want to vaccinate those that we know are at the highest risk; individuals in nursing homes, those with multiple co-morbidities, having both hypertension, diabetes and a weight issue,” she explained. “Those are individuals independent of age that we would like to see vaccinated.”

When asked about potential concerns regarding whether vaccines would be required for future air travel or attending sporting events, she surprised this reporter with her answer.

“Well, that's an interesting suggestion,” she said with a laugh. “I'm going to take that back. Thank you for making it…I hadn't heard that. No one has asked me that question. I think that's really a very important question.”

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