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Dr. Deborah Birx said Sunday that the US was in a new, “more widespread” phase of the coronavirus pandemic.
“What we are seeing today is different from March and April,” the White House coronavirus response coordinator said on CNN. “It is extraordinarily widespread.”
Birx emphasized the importance of wearing a mask and social distancing. She also warned that Americans in rural areas “are not immune or protected from this virus.”
According to data from Johns Hopkins University, more than 150,000 Americans have died as the result of the coronavirus pandemic.
“What we are seeing today is different from March and April,” Birx told CNN’s Dana Bash. “It is extraordinarily widespread. It’s into the rural as equal urban areas.”
Birx, the White House coronavirus task coordinator, emphasized the importance of following safety measures like wearing masks and social distancing and warned rural Americans of the dangers of the virus.
“To everybody who lives in a rural area, you are not immune or protected from this virus,” she 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,” Birx said.
The doctor also warned of the dangers of “superspreading events” that have caused outbreaks in southern and western states, sparking new COVID-19 hotspots across the country.
“It’s not superspreading individuals, it’s superspreading events and we need to stop those. We definitely need to take more precautions,” Birx said.
Birx said states’ responses to the pandemic should be “dramatically tailored,” and should also include a “set of recommendations based on what we are seeing at the community level, what we are seeing relevant to the hospitals.”
“If you have high caseload 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,” she said.
Birx’s update came after recent data from Johns Hopkins University revealed that more than 4.4 million people have been infected with the coronavirus in the US and more than 150,000 Americans had died.
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