01:28 - Source: CNN
Dr. Birx's harrowing story shows need for social distancing
CNN  — 

Dr. Deborah Birx said Monday that she personally understands how difficult the strict social distancing guidelines can be amid the coronavirus pandemic, revealing that she could not treat her 10-month-old granddaughter who had a high fever this weekend.

“We need to take care of each other now as Americans and do everything that’s in those guidelines. And I know they are tough. I know incredibly how tough they are. My grandchild of 10 months got a fever of 105 this weekend. I’m the doctor. And I couldn’t get there,” Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, told reporters during the task force’s daily briefing.

President Donald Trump, who was standing feet away from Birx in the White House briefing room, then cut in and asked her, “But you did not get there, you did not get there?”

“I did not go there,” Birx replied.

“Good, I’m very happy about that,” Trump said.

“Because of you two,” she said, gesturing toward Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. “I mean, you can’t take that kind of risk with the leaders of the country.”

Birx said her granddaughter is “coming out of it.” She said it was likely that her granddaughter has roseola, a common infection among young children.

“Due to the great care of my 91-year-old nurse mother and my daughter, she’s down to like 100, to 99 now. It was three days of 104, 105,” she said, adding, “Babies can do that, but it’s very scary especially when I couldn’t assure myself that she was fine.”

She said that her family has been self-isolating. “No one is allowed in that house or out of that house because there’s too much precious cargo inside the house.”

Birx said the incident led to “some sleepless nights for me and them as they kept her fever down.”

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She also urged Americans to stay at home as much as possible and limit trips to the grocery store and pharmacy “out of respect for every single health care worker that’s on the front line.”

“I know that you all are making sacrifices,” Birx said. “I want everyone to take this seriously.”

Health officials have instructed the public to practice social distancing, keeping 6 feet distance from others, stay at home, and avoid social gatherings of more than 10 people to slow the spread.

Adults over 60 are at a higher risk of serious infection and are advised to stay at home and away from others as much as possible.