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Dr. Deborah Birx, the onetime face of the Trump Administration’s pandemic response, has written a memoir she says documents “the full extent” of what she experienced during the onset of the coronavirus pandemic amid the former president’s term and will “expose the true cost of mistakes.”
Silent Invasion: The Untold Story of the Trump Administration, Covid-19, and Preventing the Next Pandemic Before It’s Too Late, is set to be released April 26, according to Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
Birx will also “clarify” which actions helped save lives “yet remained largely unseen,” she said in a statement Monday, and address how to prevent and prepare for a subsequent pandemic.
Birx faced a bumpy road after she was tapped by former Vice President Mike Pence in February 2020 to serve as a White House coronavirus response coordinator. According to a July 2020 New York Times article, Birx showed Trump and his team “optimistic data suggesting the virus would disappear,” leading House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to say she was not confident in Birx while slamming Trump for “spreading disinformation” about coronavirus (Birx later denied the Times report). Birx also faced backlash after traveling to visit family members outside her household over Thanksgiving weekend in 2020, against the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations and her own public health advice. She later defended her decision, saying members of her family had become “deeply depressed” after ten months in quarantine. When Birx announced her plans to retire from government work in December 2020, she indicated it was in large part over the backlash she’d faced for her Thanksgiving trip.
After Trump left office, Birx became more outspoken about the mistakes made during his term, claiming in January 2021 she constantly considered quitting her role and that the Trump Administration’s coronavirus response was impeded by pressure from the president’s reelection campaign and members of Trump’s circle who thought the pandemic was a hoax. One of the most memorable moments of Birx’s White House tenure was in April 2020, when Trump looked to her during a White House press conference and asked if injecting disinfectant or ultraviolet into coronavirus patients could potentially to “knock out” the virus. Birx briefly addressed his comments and said neither could be used as a treatment at the time, but cases of accidental poisonings using bleach, disinfectants, ivermectin and other unproven “coronavirus cures” among Americans rose significantly compared to prepandemic levels. In March 2021, Birx said she felt “extraordinarily uncomfortable” during the episode and said she thinks about that moment every day. Birx has continued to face backlash for waiting until leaving the White House to speak out publicly against the Trump Administration’s decisions.