Book Review: Silent Invasion
15 March 2023
From March 2020 to January 2021, Dr. Deborah Birx was the coordinator of the White House Coronavirus Task Force. Many of us got to know her because of her regular appearances on TV in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now she has written a long book, Silent Invasion, on her experiences in that job. She gives hervviews on appropriate pandemic policy and on the various players in the White House.The book’s subtitle is overly long, and so is the book. We learn over and over her view, which she seemed to have expressed almost daily at White House meetings, that the key to reining in the pandemic was social distancing, testing, masking, limiting the size of indoor gatherings, and—occasionally—lockdowns.Unfortunately, given the book’s length, she doesn’t give strong evidence for her views. And at times she reveals herself to have a strange view of “proof.” Also, the evidence against the efficacy of masks—evidence that surfaced well before she finished her book—would cause one to hope that she would address this matter. (See “How Effective Are Cloth Face Masks?” Winter 2021–2022.) But she does not; her support for masking is as strong as it was in 2020.