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Dr Birx says Covid is now spreading in homes and she fears upticks in some of best-performing states

October 10, 2020
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Deborah Birx wishes US had locked down like Italy (AFP via Getty Images)
Deborah Birx wishes US had locked down like Italy (AFP via Getty Images)

A member of the White House coronavirus response task force and one of the nation’s leading doctors warned a “very different” coronavirus spread was underway across the US than the one the country faced during the initial months of the global pandemic.

The United States was experiencing a “very different” spread of the novel coronavirus in recent months than the wave of infections that swept over the country during the initial months of the global pandemic, a member of the White House coronavirus response task force has warned.

Dr Deborah Birx, one of the nation’s leading physicians, said Covid-19 was now spreading among Americans at social events — including family gatherings — where people are “taking their mask off and letting down their guard”.

Whereas the virus initially infected people in confined work spaces, on public transit and at large events, Dr Birx said many states have now adopted CDC guidelines and other measures to curb infections.

“The spread of the virus now is not occurring so much in the workplace as people have taken precautions,” she said. “It’s happening in homes and social occasions and people gathering and taking their mask off and letting down their guard and not physically distancing.”

The doctor spoke as she was visiting the University of Connecticut, where she met with the state’s Democratic Governor Ned Lamont and discussed the school’s initiatives surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Associated Press.

She said small gatherings among family and friends were likely continuing to fuel the pandemic and its impact on the US. More than 210,000 people across the country have died as a result of the virus this year, with experts warning the winter months could become even more deadly.

“We take down our guard when we are with people we know,” Dr Birx said, adding that indoor activities with heating turned on among small gatherings are “particularly conducive to spreading events without your mask”.

“It’s happening in homes and social occasions and people gathering and taking their masks off”, she added.

Whereas the country learned how to successfully combat the virus from the actions taken by states in the northeast, Dr Birx said, she added that she now feared many of those states may soon face an uptick in Covid-19 infections.

“Now is the time to act in the Northeast, and that means we have to change our personal behavior”, she said.

More than 7.6 million people across the country have contracted Covid-19. On Friday, tracking data indicated there were 57,420 confirmed cases in the US, the most since mid-August, as well as a reported 990 deaths.

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