Dr. Deborah Birx, response coordinator for the White House coronavirus task force, joined “The Story” Thursday to provide an update on the trajectory of the pandemic as President Trump held on to his hope of starting to reopen parts of the economy by Easter Sunday.
When asked by host Martha MacCallum whether the task force’s 15-day social distancing guidelines had been effective in flattening the infectioncurve, Birx said it was a “very good question” and emphasized the importance of separating the data by county.
“We can see in Washington state that they have very aggressively, through their mitigation methods, really started to flatten their curve,” she said. “Their curve really never got to the highest levels, like you see in New York City. Every single cluster will have a different curve, and every single community around the United States has to focus on ensuring they are flattening their curve. That’s why the president put out that call to all Americans to really follow the guidelines.”
“Every single cluster will have a different curve, and every single community around the United States has to focus on ensuring they are flattening their curve.”
— Dr. Deborah Birx
On Thursday, five days before the 15-day period was set to end, President Trump said the administration was working to publish new guidelines that will advise governors in states across the nation on potential changes to social distancing, based on whether certain counties are at a low, medium or high risk for the virus.
Birx said her team was closely following the “case reporting data [and] the hospital data,” as well as testing data, in order to bring “those three pieces together in some novel, innovative analysis, to relook at what is the picture at county by county.”
Birx declined to give a date for when life would likely return to normal in New York City, which has become the epicenter of the virus outbreak in the U.S. with more than 23,000 cases and 365 deaths.
“These are really critical questions and we are really looking at the global pandemic to understand how and why and what will happen in the United States,” Birx said.
“We are watching Italy very closely because Italy did not mitigate early on, so they had a very rapid uptick,” she added. “We are trying to separate the different curves out in Italy to understand each of them independently so we can really get to what you all want which is clarity on that date.”
Birx emphasized the importance of social distancing and encouraged New Yorkers to follow the “strictest of the strict” guidelines to ensure protection for themselves and their families at “every minute of every day.”
“What will determine how the New York City area does is whether every single American in the area is following the strictest of strict guidelines, really ensuring that they are protecting themselves and protecting their families every minute of every day, and I know that’s a lot to ask for,” she explained.
“But in the end, this really gets solved at the community level, by the community itself.”
Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.