Birx said that states should expect a ‘broad surge’ of COVID-19 cases as the weather cools, but that one-third of the country is already a coronavirus hotspot.
Her warning came as fellow White House Coronavirus Task Force member Dr. Anthony Fauci cautioned that the country can not wait to reach herd immunity to the virus as it would entail ‘so much suffering and death’.
WH Coronavirus Task Force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx urged governors to promote masks and social distancing on Friday as she warned of a ‘broad surge’ of COVID-19 cases
The warnings from Birx, the White House Coronavirus Task Force coordinator, come as the U.S. broke another single-day record for new coronavirus cases, despite the president’s insistence that the pandemic is under control.
While cases in the U.S. are soaring, the death rates are currently low compared to the first spike in March.
In the call Friday, Birx urged governors to promote mask wearing and social distancing in their states as the only way the virus could be stopped from spreading.
‘This is a broad surge across every state where it is cooling,’ Birx told governors, according to CBS.
‘We’re learning from the far north about how dramatic that spread can be, and we do not see yet improvements in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota or Wisconsin.’
She added that people must decrease indoor activity with family and friends with the aim of forming ‘a bridge of human behavior change over the next few weeks’ that would combat the spread.
Dr. Fauci was also on the call with governors, stating that that U.S. should know in December if a vaccine will be available.
‘We should know sometime in December whether or not we have a safe and effective vaccine, or more than one vaccine,’ Fauci said.
He added that doses of the vaccine, likely from either Moderna or Pfizer, were already prepared ‘so we can hit the ground running’ if a decision is made to grant it emergency use authorization.
Elsewhere on Friday, Fauci told SirusXM’s Doctor Radio Reports that finding a vaccine is more important than reaching herd immunity.
He said that in order for the U.S. to naturally reach herd immunity, it would mean ‘so much suffering and death in the country, it would be unacceptable’.
‘We only have 10% or a little bit more of the population that has already been infected, and we have 225,000 deaths,’ said Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert.
Dr. Anthony Fauci has warned that the U.S. cannot afford to wait until it reaches herd immunity as it would mean ‘so much suffering and death in the country, it would be unacceptable’
‘If you want to get to a 75% protection, just multiply that and you see how many deaths you have to have to have herd immunity through natural infection.
‘What you need is a combination of a heavy, heavy element of vaccine-induced protection, together with the protection that those who unfortunately have already been infected have,’ he added.
‘That’s the reason why a vaccine is so important in a much safer approach towards herd immunity.’
Fauci continued to add that healthcare workers and others most at risk of infection would be the first to receive the vaccine.
‘Obviously the first ones are going to be health care providers, but then also we’re going to have people who are frontline essential workers, and then those who are vulnerable – people with underlying conditions,’ Fauci said.
‘We know from painful experience with this pandemic that our minority populations, our Latinx and our African Americans, are especially vulnerable because of the prevalence of their underlying conditions,’ he added.
‘You’ve got to access them and get them to be vaccinated, when we get a safe and effective vaccine.’
While both Birx and Fauci continue to work in encouraging social distancing and mask wearing across the country, the White House Coronavirus Task Force has otherwise disappeared from the public national response to the pandemic.
According to CBS, ‘nothing of substance’ is happening with the task force but Trump is concerned about the bad press it would trigger if he were to disband it with only three days left before the election.
The task force now only meets once a week and no longer holds press briefings to update on the nation’s outbreak.
Vice President Mike Pence, charged by Trump with leading up the task force, has also disappeared from the task force’s weekly meetings as he returned to the campaign trail.
Pence last week declined to quarantine and continued to travel despite members of his inner circle testing positive for coronavirus.
Vice President Mike Pence has disappeared from the weekly White House coronavirus task force meetings as he returns to the campaign trail despite infections in his inner circle
He has allegedly not attended a meeting with the nation’s governors in over a month while Birx continues to travel around the country to spread the message of masks, social distancing and personal hygiene.
Speaking on CNN last week, Trump’s Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said that members of the task force knew that this administration was ‘not going to control the pandemic’.
It comes as Trump’s language around the pandemic becomes less cautious following his own battle with the virus. The president was hospitalized for three days after testing positive but recovered after receiving the nation’s best medical treatment.
He has since criticized Democrats and his rival Joe Biden for focusing so much on the pandemic and has returned to holding large-scale rallies where many of his supporters don’t social distance or wear masks.
On Friday, he scoffed at Minnesota’s 250-person limit for a rally and accused Fox News’ Laura Ingraham of being ‘politically correct’ for wearing a mask in the crowd.
According to CBS, there is a concern that task force member Dr. Scott Atlas is telling the president what he wants to hear.
It reports that he may be agreeing with the president in stating that the country can reopen if older people in nursing homes are protected.
In reality, 30 percent to 40 percent of the overall population is vulnerable to severe consequences of infection from the coronavirus due to their age or underlying conditions.
On Friday, the U.S. broke its record for new coronavirus cases in a single-day, for the second consecutive day running, with 88,521 infections – as total cases surpassed nine million.
On Thursday, America reported 88,500 new cases, breaking the previous single-day record of around 83,700 last Saturday. Now that record has been broken again as new cases soared again to 88,521.
Total cases now stand at 9,043,957, more than 20 percent of the world’s total, with 229,676 deaths.
California leads the US with more than 929,000 total cases, followed by Texas, Florida, New York, and Illinois, respectively. The Midwest and Mountain States also report surges in infections.
President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that ‘more testing equals more cases’ and claimed that COVID-19 coronavirus deaths are ‘WAY DOWN’ with assertions the US is ’rounding the turn.’
However, while daily deaths are low compared to figures seen in the early days of the pandemic, they are creeping back upward with 971 fatalities reported on Thursday and 994 reported on Wednesday.
On average, about 800 people are dying per day.