Dr. Deborah Birx, President Trump’s coronavirus response coordinator, warned the nation’s governors on a conference call that 70 coronavirus testing sites had been destroyed amid widespread protests in the wake of the death of George Floyd.


It sounds mildly plausible in that there have been some businesses which have had windows smashed or which have been set on fire, and there's bound to be some pharmacies and medical test facilities among them, if for no other reason than that fires spread, but on the other hand, it's a claim being made without any real sources.

  • 4
    This thedailybeast.com/… has made the leaked call available. I haven't listened to it all the way through.
    – Lag
    Jun 11, 2020 at 18:33
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    At 19:48 in the 6/3 recording Birx says "We know a lot of testing sites were compromised in these neighborhoods". At 20:50 Pence says "Sadly, that has impacted ... facilities where people are doing testing". Did not find the claim of 70 sites destroyed. If it's present I suspect it's in the Q&A section. Jun 11, 2020 at 21:28
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    @DanielRHicks At 45:17 in this recording soundcloud.com/the-daily-beast-politics/coronavirustaskforce69 she says 70, and a little later someone says 4 of the 70 are pharmacies in Washington DC owned by a single Maryland family.
    – DavePhD
    Jun 12, 2020 at 1:31
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    Although, as noted in the article, a number of the cases look more like planned robberies than opportunistic smashes or grabs. Jun 12, 2020 at 15:22
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    @SeanDuggan She doesn't directly couple the word "destroyed" with the number "70". She says a significant number were destroyed, and then says "and we did lose a significant, I think 70 testing sites that were in urban areas".
    – DavePhD
    Jun 12, 2020 at 19:38

1 Answer 1


In a recording of a conference call Brix says a significant number were destroyed, and then says "and we did lose a significant, I think 70 testing sites that were in urban areas". She specifies that these are mainly pharmacies.

Then Pence (?) says that he met with the Maryland family who owns 4 of the 70, which are located in DC.

These 4 pharmacies are:

Grubbs NE Capitol Hill
Grubbs NW Dupont
Grubbs SE Anacostia
Morgan’s Pharmacy Georgetown

owned by Michael and Joan Kim. These owners put out a statement 3 June 2020:

Wanted to let people know that we resumed the COVID19 testing at our Capitol Hill location today

The link also has photos of the damage.

The buildings were damaged, but not anywhere close to completely destroyed.

For more information see the Washington post article Scores of testing sites forced to close because of vandalism in civil unrest

The 70 testing sites — out of 424 in the program — that closed because of unrest are in 17 states, plus the District. They include four Rite Aids in Philadelphia and four Walgreens in Chicago.

So on the one hand, "destroyed" isn't the best term, it is more like "put out of commission", but on the other hand the 70 is just from one federal program. It shouldn't be interpreted as only 70 testing sites put out of commission.

  • 1
    Being closed is not the same as being "put out of commission," either. My neighborhood CVS boarded up and closed early one day due to rumors that a planned March was going to lead to vandalism. Jun 17, 2020 at 22:02
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    @jeffronicus the Washington Post says "70 such sites across the country that had to close because of destruction from civil unrest", so I don't think just closing early one day would be included in the 70.
    – DavePhD
    Jun 17, 2020 at 22:54
  • Point noted. It would help to see how HHS characterized the closures, which I don't find on their website. An NBC story from June 2 at nbcnews.com/health/health-news/… about centers in Florida closing because the National Guard members running them were reassigned to deal with unrest, and LA County listed 14 sites that were closed June 1 due to the "State of Emergency" and/or curfews: covid19.lacounty.gov/covid19-news/… Jun 17, 2020 at 23:16
  • That is, were 70 sites closed due to damage -- and other sites were closed for unrest-related reasons -- or were 70 sites closed due to unrest-related reasons, in some cases due to vandalism/damage/destruction? Jun 17, 2020 at 23:32
  • 3
    I think your answer is sufficient unless we get new facts. Jun 22, 2020 at 0:08

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