Deborah Birx – Silent Invasion
In late February 2020, Dr. Deborah Birx—a lifelong federal health official who had worked at the CDC, the State Department, and the US Army across multiple presidential administrations—was asked to join the Trump White House Coronavirus Task Force and assist the already faltering federal response to the Covid-19 pandemic. For weeks, she’d been raising the alarm behind the scenes about what she saw happening in public—from the apparent lack of urgency at the White House to the routine downplaying of the risks to Americans. Once in the White House, she was tasked with helping fix the broken federal approach and making President Trump see the danger this virus posed to all of us.
Silent Invasion is the story of what she witnessed and lived for the next year—an eye-opening, inside account, detailed here for the first time, of the Trump Administration’s response to the greatest public health crisis in modern times. Regarded with suspicion in the West Wing from day one, Dr. Birx goes beyond the media speculation and political maneuvering to show what she was really up against in the Trump White House. Digging into the hard-fought victories, the costly mistakes, and the human drama surrounding the administration’s efforts, she examines the forces that crippled efforts to control the virus and explores why these blunders continue to haunt us today.
And yet amid the agonizing missteps were bright spots that point the way forward—the fastest vaccine creation in history, governors that put their citizens’ health first, and Tribal Nations that demonstrated the powerful role of community in curbing spread, despite their criminally underfunded healthcare systems. Collectively these successes reveal the valiant work of many who were committed to saving lives, as well as highlighting the dire need to reform our public health institutions, so they are nimble and resilient enough to confront the next pandemic.
With the pandemic now moving into its third year confounding two presidential administrations, Dr. Birx presents a story at once urgent and frustratingly unfinished, as Covid-19 continues to put thousands of American lives at risk. The end result is the most comprehensive and extensive accounting to date of the Trump Administration’s struggle to control the biggest health crisis in generations—a revelatory look at how we can learn from our mistakes and prevent this from happening again.