White House: Americans should avoid grocery shopping as virus hits apex, our ‘Pearl Harbor moment’

(Video screenshot)

The White House’s coronavirus task force is facing criticism for urging Americans to stop visiting grocery stores to purchase food, refill medications, etc., as the coronavirus pandemic approaches what U.S. Surgeon General Vice Admiral Jerome Adams has dubbed “our Pearl Harbor moment.”

During the White House’s latest coronavirus briefing Saturday, Dr. Deborah Birx cautioned that “the next two weeks are extraordinarily important,” ergo why Americans must restrict their public movement as much as possible.

“We’re hoping and believing that if people mitigate strongly, the work that they did over the last two weeks will blunt that curve, and they won’t have the same upward slope and peak that New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and part of Rhode Island are having,” she said.

“So the next two weeks are extraordinarily important, and that’s why I think … that this is the moment to do everything that you can on the presidential guidelines. This is the moment to not be going to the grocery store and not going to the pharmacy, but doing everything you can to keep your family and your friends safe. That means everybody doing the six feet distancing, washing your hands.”

Listen to some of her remarks below (disable your adblocker if the video doesn’t appear):

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci concurred with her controversial recommendation.

“[D]itto to everything that Dr. Birx said, but also to emphasize why it’s so important to do that because we’re looking at three or four really key hotspots that are still going up,” he said.

“It’s absolutely essential that the ones that are down at that lower level that Dr. Burke showed the other day — those communities where they’re still going up — we’ve got to make sure we don’t have multiple waves of peaks. That’s going to be the answer to the question of when we can start pulling back because if you keep having multiple peaks and different waves, that’s going to make it very difficult.”

While the recommendations were understandable from a scientific vantage, they seemed awfully infeasible from the layman’s perspective, for grocery stores contain the most basic goods that every human needs to survive, including food and supplies.

As such, the notion of avoiding grocery stores seemed to disturb many and led some to even accuse Birx in particular of being an out-of-touch elite.


Birx’s recommendation is ironic, because the only reasonable way that the American people could possibly avoid visiting the grocery store right now is if they’ve been hoarding food and supplies. Yet the administration has rightly been telling Americans to stop hoarding, since hoarding prevents other needy Americans from obtaining the products they need.

“You don’t have to buy so much. Take it easy. Just relax,” President Donald Trump himself said last month at a briefing as he assured Americans that grocers would remain open and the country’s supply chains would remain intact.


Yet a month later, Birx has issued a recommendation that seems to directly contradict what the president had said last month. It doesn’t make sense.

However, some suspect there’s a rational explanation for her controversial recommendation: Perhaps she’d simply misspoken. After all, she and the rest of the coronavirus team have been working endless hours and are therefore exhausted.

But the question then becomes, what did she actually mean?

Was she telling the American people to avoid grocery stores unless absolutely necessary?

Was she telling the American people to simply limit their grocery store visits to perhaps once a week?

Was she telling only the American people who live in hotspots to halt their visits to the grocery store?

Or had she simply meant to say “this is the moment to not be going [anywhere but] to the grocery store and … the pharmacy”?

Until the White House provides a clarification, there’s no way to tell. But given the criticism mounting on social media, a clarification is indeed needed, pronto.


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Vivek Saxena


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