Where is Debbie Birx? Top coronavirus doctor vanishes from daily White House briefing


Dr. Deborah Birx was missing from Friday’s White House press briefing after video of her reaction to President Donald Trump’s suggestion the previous day -that government officials study the idea injecting disinfectants as a possible cure for coronavirus – went viral.

Birx was spotted at the White House Friday morning, taping an interview for Fox News on the South Lawn. 

In that interview, she defended the president’s suggestion, explaining Trump likes to think out loud.

‘When he gets new information, he likes to talk that throughout loud. And really how that dialogue. And so, that’s the dialogue he was having. I think he just saw the information at the time, immediately before the press conference, and he was still digesting the information,’ she said.

Dr. Deborah Birx was missing from Friday’s White House press briefing after video of her reaction to President Donald Trump’s suggestion the previous day -that government officials study the idea injecting disinfectants as a possible cure for coronavirus – went viral

President Donald Trump was joined at Friday's briefing by Food and Drug Administrator Stephen Hahn and Vice President Mike Pence

President Donald Trump was joined at Friday’s briefing by Food and Drug Administrator Stephen Hahn and Vice President Mike Pence

The White House did not immediately respond to Dailymail.com’s inquiry about Birx’s absence.

The president said he was being sarcastic when he made the suggestion.

‘I was asking a question sarcastically to reporters like you just to see what would happen,’ the president said during a bill signing in the Oval Office, after his comments, delivered at length and no hint of a smile during his live televised press briefing, brought blowback. 

Friday featured a record short press briefing. President Trump came out with Food and Drug Administrator Stephen Hahn and Vice President Mike Pence. All three men gave brief updates from the podium and then Trump walked out, ending the briefing after 22 minutes and taking no questions.

The brief briefing came after a prolonged Thursday back-and-forth where Trump raged about his media coverage and was mocked for his suggestion that official should look into injecting disinfectant in the body as a way to fight off the coronavirus, an idea that has no medical basis and is rejected by doctors.

Birx was caught on camera looking dejected as Trump offered the idea and the White House had to issue a correction to its transcript of her remarks after he gave it.

‘I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute.  And is there a way we can do something like that,’ Trump said Thursday as Birx visibly stiffens, ‘by injection inside or almost a cleaning. Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs. So it would be interesting to check that. So, that, you’re going to have to use medical doctors. But it sounds — it sounds interesting to me.’

The video of her went viral.  

The White House also corrected its official transcript of the briefing with just one revision to a comment that initially made it seem Birx was touting heat and the light as a treatment for coronavirus.

Trump urged that sunlight and heat and light in general could be used to treat COVID-19, and at one point turned to Birx, the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, to ask her to weigh in.

‘Deborah, have you ever heard of that? The heat and the light, relative to certain viruses, yes, but relative to this virus?’ Trump asked Birx.

The initial transcript, sent just after 10:00 p.m. Thursday night read: ‘That is a treatment.’

While the initial transcript showed that Birx agreed with the president’s claims, the corrected version, sent out before 8:00 a.m. Friday morning, struck out the words ‘that is’ and replaced it with the word ‘not.’

Now it reads what she actually said in response to Trump’s question: ‘Not as a treatment.’

The White House put out a revised version of the transcript of Thursday night's press briefing after the original appeared to show Dr. Deborah Birx (left) agreeing with Donald Trump that heat and light could be used as a treatment for coronavirus

The White House put out a revised version of the transcript of Thursday night’s press briefing after the original appeared to show Dr. Deborah Birx (left) agreeing with Donald Trump that heat and light could be used as a treatment for coronavirus

In the first version, sent around 10:00 p.m. Thursday night, The White House claimed Birx said "That is a treatment" when Trump asked about using heat and light

In the first version, sent around 10:00 p.m. Thursday night, The White House claimed Birx said ‘That is a treatment’ when Trump asked about using heat and light

But the corrected version, sent out before 8:00 a.m. Friday morning, correctly reflected that she said to the question: 'Not as a treatment'

But the corrected version, sent out before 8:00 a.m. Friday morning, correctly reflected that she said to the question: ‘Not as a treatment’

Trump asserted during the briefing that based on a new study that UV rays and other forms of heat and light could be used to treat the virus

Trump asserted during the briefing that based on a new study that UV rays and other forms of heat and light could be used to treat the virus

As Trump made the claims, Birx was sitting at the side of the briefing room, appearing to hold back giving any reaction

As Trump made the claims, Birx was sitting at the side of the briefing room, appearing to hold back giving any reaction 

‘I mean, certainly fever is a good thing,’ she continued at the briefing. ‘When you have a fever, it helps your body respond. But not as – I’ve not seen heat or –’

She then appeared to be cut of by the president, who said, ‘I think it’s a great thing to look at.’

The comments came as a reporter asked Trump about the notion that going out into heat and humidity is good to combat the virus.

‘Here we go,’ the president groaned. ‘The new headline is: ‘Trump Asks People to go Outside. That’s Dangerous.’ Here we go. Same old group. You ready? I hope people enjoy the sun. And if it has an impact, that’s great.’

‘I would like you to speak to the medical doctors to see if there’s any way that you can apply light and heat to cure,’ Trump said. ‘And maybe you can, maybe you can’t. Again, I say, maybe you can, maybe you can’t. I’m not a doctor. But I’m like a person that has a good you know what.’

The reporter urged the president to clarify, claiming people don’t want to hear about ‘rumors’ during the White House briefings.

‘I’m the President and you’re fake news,’ he pushed back.

The president's claims Homeland Security senior science and technology advisor William Bryan shared a 'study' on using light and heat to treat COVID-19. Here he shares a graphic on 'best practices' called for moving activities outside, and noted that heat and humidity hurt the virus

The president’s claims Homeland Security senior science and technology advisor William Bryan shared a ‘study’ on using light and heat to treat COVID-19. Here he shares a graphic on ‘best practices’ called for moving activities outside, and noted that heat and humidity hurt the virus

Trump brought up the potential of treating coronavirus with ultra-violet light rays at his Thursday briefing.

‘Supposing we hit the body with a tremendous, whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light? And I think you said, that hasn’t been checked but you’re going to test it,’ the president directed to Homeland Security senior science and technology advisor William Bryan.

‘And then I said supposing you brought the light inside the body which you can do either through the skin or in some other way. And I think you said you’re going to test that too. Sounds interesting,’ he continued.

The comments came after Bryan delivered a report claiming that ultraviolet rays and heat have a potent impact on the pathogen. The ‘study,’ however, was not peer-reviewed and therefore is not a fully-fledged piece of research.

WAS TRUMP TAKEN OUT OF CONTEXT? MAKE YOUR OWN MIND UP 

TRUMP: Thank you very much. So I asked Bill a question that probably some of you are thinking of, if you’re totally into that world, which I find to be very interesting. So, supposing we hit the body with a tremendous — whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light — and I think you said that that hasn’t been checked, but you’re going to test it. And then I said, supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or in some other way, and I think you said you’re going to test that too. It sounds interesting.

BILL BRYAN: We’ll get to the right folks who could.

TRUMP: Right. And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning. Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs. So it would be interesting to check that. So, that, you’re going to have to use medical doctors with. But it sounds — it sounds interesting to me.

So we’ll see. But the whole concept of the light, the way it kills it in one minute, that’s — that’s pretty powerful.

—–

Q But I — just, can I ask about — the President mentioned the idea of cleaners, like bleach and isopropyl alcohol you mentioned. There’s no scenario that that could be injected into a person, is there? I mean —

BRYAN: No, I’m here to talk about the findings that we had in the study. We won’t do that within that lab and our lab. So —

TRUMP: It wouldn’t be through injection. We’re talking about through almost a cleaning, sterilization of an area. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t work. But it certainly has a big effect if it’s on a stationary object. 

——–     

TRUMP: Here we go. The new — the new headline is: ‘Trump Asks People to go Outside. That’s Dangerous.’ Here we go. Same old group. You ready? I hope people enjoy the sun. And if it has an impact, that’s great. I’m just hearing this — not really for the first time. I mean, there’s been a rumor that — you know, a very nice rumor — that you go outside in the sun, or you have heat and it does have an effect on other viruses.

But now we get it from one of the great laboratories of the world. I have to say, it covers a lot more territory than just this. This is — this is probably an easy thing, relatively speaking, for you.

I would like you to speak to the medical doctors to see if there’s any way that you can apply light and heat to cure. You know — but if you could. And maybe you can, maybe you can’t. Again, I say, maybe you can, maybe you can’t. I’m not a doctor. But I’m like a person that has a good you know what.

Q But, sir, you’re the President.

TRUMP: Deborah, have you ever heard of that? The heat and the light, relative to certain viruses, yes, but relative to this virus?

DR. BIRX: Not as a treatment. I mean, certainly fever —

TRUMP: Yeah.

DR. BIRX: — is a good thing. When you have a fever, it helps your body respond. But not as — I’ve not seen heat or (inaudible).

TRUMP: I think it’s a great thing to look at. I mean, you know. Okay?

Q But respectfully, sir, you’re the President. And people tuning into these briefings, they want to get information and guidance and want to know what to do.

TRUMP: Hey — hey, Phil.

Q They’re not looking for a rumor.

TRUMP: Hey, Phil. I’m the President and you’re fake news. And you know what I’ll say to you? I’ll say it very nicely. I know you well.

Q Why do you say that?

TRUMP: I know you well.

Because I know the guy; I see what he writes. He’s a total faker.

Q He’s a good reporter.

TRUMP: So, are you ready? Are you ready? Are you ready? It’s just a suggestion from a brilliant lab by a very, very smart, perhaps brilliant, man. He’s talking about sun. He’s talking about heat. And you see the numbers. So that’s it; that’s all I have. I’m just here to present talent. I’m here to present ideas, because we want ideas to get rid of this thing. And if heat is good and if sunlight is good, that’s a great thing as far as I’m concerned.

In his explanation Friday of the previous day’s comments, Trump said he was not addressing his questions to medical professionals on his task force, but to reporters in the room – although during Thursday’s briefing he sparred with reporters and looked to the side when engaging in back-and-forth with government official Dr. Deborah Birx about his treatment theories.

‘Because when they say that something will last three or four hours or six hours, but if the sun is out or if they use disinfectant it goes away less than a minute, did you hear about this yesterday?’ Trump said at the White House when questioned about his remarks Friday.

‘But I was asking a sarcastic question and a very sarcastic question to the reporters in the room about disinfectant on the inside. But it does kill it and it would kill it on the hands and that would make things much better,’ he continued.  ‘That was done in the form of a sarcastic question to the reporters,’ Trump repeated. 

Pressed by a reporter and told that he was asking government experts about the idea, Trump responded: ‘No, no, no, no. To look into whether or not sun or disinfectant on the hands, but whether or not sun can help us, because he came in yesterday and he said they’ve done a big study. This is a study, this isn’t where he hasn’t done it,’ Trump said. 

‘And that’s what I brought out and I thought it was clear,’ he said. 

Trump returned to the issue that blew up during Thursday’s press briefing at the White House while signing the latest coronavirus bailout – this time indicating the idea was real.

‘They’ve been doing these tests for months,’ he said. ‘I said well how do you do it inside the body?’

Trump said Bryan had an ‘amazing lab,’ a reference to a Frederick, Maryland biochemical lab.  

‘So he’s going to check,’ Trump continued. ‘Because hard surfaces, this is a hard surface,’ he said, referencing hands.

‘And disinfectant – the disinfectant has an unbelievable – wipes it out. You saw it. Sun and heat and humidity wipe it out. And this is from tests. They’ve been doing these test for a number of months.’ He was referring to studies on what happens to the virus in the environment when exposed to light, heat, and humidity.

‘So then I said how do we do it inside the body or even outside the body or even outside the body with the hands and disinfectant? I think it would work. He thinks it would work. You use it when you’re doing your hands. I guess that’s one of the reasons they say wash your hands,’ the president continued. 

‘So they’re going to start looking at that. And there is a way if light, if sun itself … So I said you’ve got to go back and look. But I’d like them now to look as it pertains to the human body.’ 

Trump told a reporter, Jeff Mason of Reuters, ‘I was looking at you’ when he made the comments. Mason reminded the president that he was not in the briefing. ‘You were looking at Dr. Birx,’ another reporter told him. 

‘I was looking at Bill, I was looking at the doctor, I was looking at some of the reporters. I don’t know if you were there,’ Trump responded.

‘Were you there?’ he then asked. ‘If you were there I would never forget,’ Trump told Mason, smiling.

‘I wasn’t there yesterday,’ Mason informed him.  

‘You were not? I didn’t think you were there,’ Trump said.

The president’s Thursday suggestions were ridiculed and condemned by many public health officials in recent hours, and the manufacturer of Lysol issued a statement telling consumers not to ingest its product under any circumstances.  

The White House earlier Friday accused the media of taking President Donald Trump’s bizarre comments about injecting coronavirus patients with disinfectant ‘out of context’ and sensationalizing them – but did not say Trump was joking in any way.

The White House did not list presidential sarcasm in its initial explanation. 

AND HERE’S TODAY’S ‘EXPLANATION’ 

REPORTER: Just to follow up on the comments from yesterday you said you were being sarcastic, but some people may have misunderstood you. Do you want to just clarify?

TRUMP: I wish they […]

Q: Do you want to clarify to Americans if you don’t want people to think that?

POTUS. Yes. I do think that disinfectant on the hands could have a very good effect. Now, Bill is going back to check that in the laboratory. You know, it’s an amazing laboratory, by the way. It’s amazing the work they do. So, he’s going to check because a hard surface. This is a hard surface I guess maybe depending on whose hand you’re talking about, right? But this is a hard surface and disinfectant, disinfectant has an unbelievable — it wipes it out. You saw it? Sun and heat, and humidity and you wipe it out. And this is from tests — they’ve been doing these tests for a number of months. And the result — so then I said, ‘Well, how do we do it inside the body or even outside the body with the hands and disinfectant I think would work.’ He thinks it would work. When you use it when you’re doing your hands. I guess that’s one of the reasons they say wash your hands, but whether it’s washing hands or disinfectant on your hands, it’s very good. So, they’re going to start looking at that. And there is a way of, you know, if light — if sun, sun itself that sun has a tremendous impact on or kills it like in one — it goes from what was it? Hours to like one minute instead.

So, I said you got to go back and look, but I’d like them now to look as it pertains to the human body. Not just sitting on a railing or sitting on a wall. I’d like to look as it pertains because maybe there’s something there. They have to work with — I’m not a doctor. They have to work with their doctors. but maybe there is something to light, and the human body, and helping people that are dying. 

New White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany lashed out at the media more than 12 hours after the president suggested unusual treatments for coronavirus patients – including injecting them with disinfectants found to be effective against the virus on surfaces, and exposing them to rays that can also cause it to break down. 

‘President Trump has repeatedly said that Americans should consult with medical doctors regarding coronavirus treatment, a point that he emphasized again during yesterday’s briefing,’ McEnany said in a statement.

‘Leave it to the media to irresponsibly take President Trump out of context and run with negative headlines,’ she added.  

The president did note during the briefing that he is not a doctor – although he also suggested he has a special intuition on medical issues. He made the comment while speaking to William Bryan, an acting official overseeing science and technology programs at the Homeland Security Department. Bryan also is not a doctor or scientist.     

‘I would like you to speak to the medical doctors to see if there’s any way that you can apply light and heat to cure. You know – but if you could. And maybe you can, maybe you can’t. Again, I say, maybe you can, maybe you can’t. I’m not a doctor. But I’m like a person that has a good you know what,’ Trump said, pointing to his head to emphasize his smarts.

Trump also sought a second opinion from Dr. Deborah Birx, a medical doctor who is coordinator of his coronavirus task force, on his idea at Thursday’s briefing. He did not get a resounding endorsement – and the White House had to correct a transcript Friday morning that implied she had backed up the suggestion.  

‘Deborah, have you ever heard of that? The heat and the light, relative to certain viruses, yes, but relative to this virus?’ Trump asked Birx immediately after floating the idea.

‘Not as a treatment. I mean, certainly fever is a good thing. When you have a fever, it helps your body respond. But not as — I’ve not seen heat or (inaudible)’ according to the latest transcript. 

The transcript released Thursday at about 10 pm amid the uproar had Birx responding: ‘That is a treatment.’  

The pushback comes as the maker of Lysol released a statement saying under ‘no circumstance’ should disinfectants be injected or consumed.

Another doctor on the coronavirus task force, Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams, weighed in with his own advice in a statement on Twitter Friday.

‘A reminder to all Americans- PLEASE always talk to your health provider first before administering any treatment / medication to yourself or a loved one,’ Adams wrote.

‘Your safety is paramount, and doctors and nurses are have years of training to recommend what’s safe and effective.’ The message did not state why Adams decided to weigh in with advice to consult health professionals before administering treatment.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk