White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx told a heartbreaking personal story during a press conference on Wednesday about how the spread of a disease changed her family forever, while imploring Americans to follow social distancing guidelines amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
What are the details?
The physician explained that her grandmother contracted the Spanish flu as a child and unknowingly brought the disease home — infecting and killing her own mother (Birx's great-grandmother), who had just given birth.
Dr. Birx said that social distancing is important to her personally, because her grandmother "for 88 years lived with the fact that she was the one at age 11 who brought home flu to her mother."
"She never forgot that she was the child that was in school that innocently brought that flu home," Birx continued. "This is why we keep saying to every American: You have a role to protect each and every person that you interact with. We have a role to protect one another."
Dr. Birx reiterated, "If you inadvertently brought this virus home to someone with a pre-existing condition, I can tell you — my grandmother lived with that for 88 years ... this is not a theoretic. This is a reality. You can see the number of deaths that are occurring."
Dr. Birx is a member of the White House's coronavirus task force, which has urged Americans to stay at home and avoid gathering in groups of more than 10 people as the nation works to stop the spread of the coronavirus, NPR reported.
"We all have a role," she added. "Each person in every place no matter which county, which community, which state, can work with us to make sure we prevent the spread of this virus to others."