Skip to content

White House Doctor Issues New Warning About COVID-19

Deborah Birx says some states "stepped on the gas" too hard during reopening.

Although there was confusion at first about whether or not you should wear a face mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and although Donald Trump has made derisive comments about them, those around the President are becoming more vocal about the importance of face masks. Vice President Mike Pence, chair of the Coronavirus Task Force, said "wearing a mask is a good idea" and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country's leading infectious disease expert, has frequently plumped for them, saying "the lack of wearing a mask that increases the risk of there being transmissibility. I have no doubt about that." Now their Task Force colleague, Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, is joining in, with strong advice for those in hot zones.

"100 Percent" Should Do This

Birx spoke Tuesday during an online event Tuesday hosted by the Atlantic Council. Her comments came as Texas, Arizona, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Florida are seeing an alarming spike in cases. 

"100 percent of the American population in those hot zones, in the red areas of the country, should be wearing masks all of the time and social distancing," said Birx. "I wear a mask in all circumstances no matter where I am. I'm part of the White House and I support the message of every place Americans taking care, wearing masks, social distancing."

She thanked leaders like Gov. Greg Abbott, the Republican governor of Texas who, for example, issued a mandate for all in his state to wear masks when social distancing was impossible, and Gov. Mike DeWine, also a Republican, who just issued an order mandating masks in seven Ohio counties.

"I want to really applaud the governors who've taken decisive action to really mandate masks, increase social distancing, close bars," Birx said in a Bloomberg Radio interview, also on Tuesday. "There's a lot we can do as individual Americans, but there's a lot we can do at the state and local and federal level to support that response and change the course of this pandemic."

"We can get through this until we have a vaccine, if we all do our part," Birx added.

Young Americans in Trouble

Given the rise in cases nationwide, Fauci, the NIAID director, said the state of the pandemic is "really not good." "Well, I think we are in a good place," President Trump told Full Court Press. "I disagree with him." (He added that "Dr. Fauci said don't wear masks, and now he says wear them." The video clip of Fauci saying so "is old, and Fauci was simply echoing what many others argued at that time, including the U.S. Surgeon General, the World Health Organization (WHO), and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)," reports Snopes.)

Besides extolling the virtues of face masks, Birx expressed concern for the young people, since COVID-19 is spreading so quickly among millennials. "There's also young Americans in the hospital right now suffering from very severe disease," she said.

Birx also appeared on the Wharton Business Daily podcast on Tuesday to discuss reopenings, and said "that while states in the Northeast are experiencing a 'slight uptick,' their situations are much more controlled now than states in the South, which opened much more abruptly," according to the Hill. "The South, which didn't experience a significant outbreak through the March-April time frame, I think came at this opening in a different way than the Northeast or the Midwest that had experience with the outbreak," Birx said.

"A lot of individuals and a lot of businesses, instead of driving 25 in a 25 mile an hour zone, stepped on the gas and started going 65, and it's really evident now in the spread of cases across most age groups," she added.

America Needs to be a Healthier Nation

Rounding out her busy day, Birx also "says experts have been surprised by the impact the virus has had on high-income and upper-middle-income countries," reports the AP. "She says public health experts never thought that 80 percent of the cases and probably 90 percent of the deaths would be reported in high-income and upper-middle-income countries, and adds that COVID-19's impact in the United States has been aggravated by the prevalence of hypertension, diabetes and obesity, highlighting America's need to become a healthier nation."

As for yourself, wear your face mask, social distance, wash your hands frequently, monitor your health, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these Things You Should Never Do During the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more about Alek
Filed Under