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Birx cedes White House turf to Atlas while hitting the road to spread her public health gospel

October 29, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Dr. Deborah Birx, left, White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, talks to state Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner, R-Dickinson, North Dakota, during a round table discussion with state and local government and medical leaders on the campus of Bismarck State College on Monday, 10/26-2020. Seated next to Dr. Birx is Gov. Doug Burgum, Lt.. Gov. Brent Sanford and Maj. Gen. Alan Dohrmann, North Dakota National Guard adjutant general.

Dr. Deborah Birx emerged from a meeting at the White House one day in late summer with a new resolution: Never again would she sit in a meeting with Dr. Scott Atlas and listen to him pontificate on the pandemic.

(CNN)Dr. Deborah Birx emerged from a meeting at the White House one day in late summer with a new resolution: Never again would she sit in a meeting with Dr. Scott Atlas and listen to him pontificate on the pandemic.

Birx, a physician with decades of experience in global health, told a friend that she would take her message directly to the people and simply sidestep the kind of misleading messages she'd just heard from Atlas in that meeting.

But soon after Atlas was formally named to the task force on August 10, Birx told friends, it became clear that she wasn't going to get much time with Trump -- if any at all.

After that August meeting, she came out of the room and told a friend Atlas was "not going to tell me what to do," the friend said, recounting the conversation.

This evaluate-then-lecture tactic is part of Birx's new routine, say friends and colleagues.

"Imagine going to your local Safeway and finding Debbie Birx going up and down the aisles," says a longtime friend.

As she travels, says the friend who communicates with her regularly, Birx is trying to "block out the noise. "

For example, Birx didn't say anything when the President opined from the podium of the White House briefing room that injecting bleach into one's body might be an effective method of ridding coronavirus.

It is unknown whether pushback such as that on the President, or any of her advice, more handily ignored with Atlas' influence, was part of Birx's decision to get out on the road.

For now, the friend who communicates with her regularly say Birx is trying to "block out the noise and focus," which is harder to do as Trump's rhetoric ramps up, and citizens suffer from virus fatigue.

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