US in ‘new phase’ of pandemic | Daily News

US in ‘new phase’ of pandemic

Coronavirus response coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force Deborah Birx speaks at a briefing at the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, DC.
Coronavirus response coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force Deborah Birx speaks at a briefing at the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, DC.

US: The United States has entered a "new phase" of the pandemic, White House coronavirus advisor Deborah Birx warned Sunday, with rural areas just as threatened as major cities.  

Birx, who heads the White House coronavirus task force, told CNN's "State of the Union" that local virus mitigation procedures were starting to work, but added that "what we are seeing today is different from March and April".  

"It is extraordinarily widespread. It's into the rural as equal urban areas," she added. "To everybody who lives in a rural area, you are not immune or protected from this virus."  

"We are in a new phase," Birx said.  

She added that sticking to health and safety guidelines -- such as wearing a mask, maintaining personal hygiene and observing social distancing -- was crucial.  

As of Sunday, the US had tallied more than 4,665,000 cases of COVID-19 and 154,834 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University, making it by far the hardest-hit country in the world.  

The US notched 47,508 new cases on Sunday -- a slight dip from the previous five days, which had all recorded more than 60,000 new infections.

Birx said the U.S. virus death toll will depend on how southern and  western states with the worst outbreaks respond to the virus over the  coming weeks.

The virus is rapidly spreading across much of the  Midwest, as well in states like Florida and California that have  experienced a significant surge in infections. The Northeast, once the  epicenter of the virus, has seen a decline in cases since hitting a peak  in April.

“It’s  not super spreading individuals, it’s super spreading events and we  need to stop those,” Birx said. “We definitely need to take more  precautions.”

Asked if schools should stay closed and have remote  learning in areas where there is a 5% positivity rate, Birx deferred to  the CDC’s guidelines on school reopenings.

“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.  - AFP


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