White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx on Sunday told CNN’s Dana Bash that the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic is in a “new phase,” with infections being more widespread across the country. The virus is no longer just in population-dense urban areas. It’s now in more rural states and cities.
In particular, Birx is keeping an eye on 19 states: Washington State, Oregon, California, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Tennesse, Kentucky and Ohio.
“Are we in a new phase of the pandemic, and if so, what are you going to do to change course?” Bash asked. “I think those are two very critical questions because we are in a new phase, and that’s why I wanted to make it clear to the American people, it’s why we started putting out governor reports directly to the health officials and the governors in every single state, because we could see that each thing had to be tailored,” Birx explained.
According to the Task Force Coordinator, every state is given their own tailored set of recommendations and guidelines based on the area and what’s taking place at local hospitals, which is why every state’s response is vastly different.
“We are beginning to see an impact from the mitigation procedures that many of the state and local officials have put into place. But I want to be very clear. What we are seeing today is different from March and April. It is extraordinarily widespread. It’s into the rural as equal urban areas. And to everybody who lives in a rural area: you are not immune or protected from this virus and that is why we keep saying no matter where you live in America, you need to wear a mask and socially distance, do the personal hygiene pieces,” she explained. “But, more importantly, if you’re in a multi-generational household, if you have 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 hoped with comorbidities. This epidemic right now is different and it’s more widespread and it’s both rural and urban.”