Deborah Birx's granddaughter's fever shot up to 105 degrees. She stayed away because of social distancing rules and fear of infecting Trump.

Associated Press/Patrick SemanskyDr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator, speaks during a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House, Saturday, April 4, 2020, in Washington.
  • Deborah Birx, the response coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, said her 10-month-old granddaughter developed a 105 degree Fahrenheit temperature over the weekend.
  • Social distancing rules prevented Birx from helping in person, she said.
  • Birx said that she believes her grandchild has roseola, not the coronavirus, but she “can’t take that kind of risk” since she is in close contact with the president and vice president.
  • “Good, I’m very happy about that,” Trump said, when he heard that Birx, a physician, did not go home to help treat the baby.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Deborah Birx’s 10-month-old granddaughter’s fever spiked to 105 degrees Fahrenheit over the weekend, but the White House coronavirus task force’s response coordinator couldn’t be there in person.

“I’m the doctor and I couldn’t get there,” Birx said at Monday’s press briefing.

It was a “very scary” experience, Birx said, but necessary from the standpoint of social distancing “out of respect for every single health care worker that’s on the front line.”

Instead of being there in person, Birx helped her daughter listen to her own lungs and then her grandchild’s lungs. The baby likely contracted roseola, a viral that impacts young children, she told reporters in comments captured by The Washington Post.

“We need to take care of each other now as Americans and do everything that’s in those guidelines, and I know they’re tough,” Birx said.

Birx is also in constant contact with President Donald Trump, 73, and Vice President Mike Pence, 60, both of whom are in the demographic that’s most vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus.

“You can’t take that kind of risk with the leaders of the country,” she said.

Birx’s story about her granddaughter prompted an exchange with Trump, who interrupted her at the press briefing, saying “So, you did not get there.”

“I did not go there,” Birx replied.

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

“Because of you two,” a smiling Birx responded, waving her hand in the direction of Trump and Pence.

When Trump asked Birx if her “grandson” was OK, she first corrected him, saying, “Daughter.”

“She’s coming out of it,” she added.

Trump then commented, “That’s a lot of temperature: 105.”

“Yes,” Birx agreed.

Birx said her granddaughter’s fever has dropped to 100 or 99, the Post reported. Birx doesn’t believe that the baby is infected by the coronavirus because everyone in their Maryland home – occupied by Birx’s parents as well as her daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren – is following strict social isolation rules.

“No one is allowed in that house or out of that house, because there’s too much precious cargo inside the house,” Birx said.

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