Dr. Birx on COVID-19: ‘What we are seeing today is different from March and April’
White House coronavirus task force leader, Dr. Deborah Birx, says the U.S. is in a brand new phase of its fight against the virus. Birx says the virus is more widespread than when it arrived in the U.S. in the spring.
“What we are seeing today is different from March and April. It is extraordinarily widespread. It’s into the rural as equal urban areas,” Birx told CNN.
Birx pleaded with the American people to follow health recommendations such as wearing a mask and practicing social distancing.
“To everybody who lives in a rural area, you are not immune or protected from this virus,” Birx said. “If you’re in multi-generational households, and there’s an outbreak in your rural area or in your city, you need to really consider wearing a mask at home, assuming that you’re positive, if you have individuals in your households with comorbidities. This epidemic right now is different and it’s more widespread and it’s both rural and urban.”
A new forecast by the Center for Disease Control now estimates that more than 173,000 Americans will die from COVID-19 by August 22. Some medical professionals worry that if the country doesn’t change course soon, more than 300,000 Americans could die by the end of 2020.
Birx said that southern and western states are currently seeing the largest spread and have become major hot spots for the virus. She said that large events and gatherings, even outside, are causing a surge and said that people need to be careful and avoid crowds.
“It’s not super spreading individuals, it’s super spreading events and we need to stop those. We definitely need to take more precautions,” Birx said.
CNN’s Dana Bash pressed Birx on whether or not schools in states with a 5% positivity rate should remain closed or have distance learning only.
“If you have high case load and active community spread, just like we are asking people not to go to bars, not to have household parties, not to create large spreading events, we are asking people to distance learn at this moment so we can get this epidemic under control,” Birx said.
On Sunday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi told ABC that she has no confidence in Birx and said President Donald Trump is spreading disinformation.
“I think the president is spreading disinformation about the virus and she is his…she is his appointee,” Pelosi said. “So, I don’t have confidence there, no.”
White House strategic communications director Alyssa Farah fired back at Pelosi on social media.
“It is deeply irresponsible of Speaker Pelosi to repeatedly try to undermine & create public distrust in Dr Birx, the top public health professional on the coronavirus task force. It’s also just wrong. Period. Hard stop,” she tweeted.
Photo Credit: Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian
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