White House medic Deborah Birx said coronavirus deaths will 'dramatically' decrease by the end of May, but social distancing will go on for much longer
Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator, told Fox News on Saturday that the US will see a dramatic decrease in coronavirus hospitalizations and deaths by the end of May. But social distancing will have to continue "through the summer," Birx told NBC News on Sunday. Several states have begun to ease social distancing measures, but public-health experts fear that cases could rebound as a result. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
White House coronavirus task force coordinator Deborah Birx has a rough timeline for how the pandemic will play out in the US over the next several months. The number of coronavirus hospitalizations, ICU patients, and deaths "will be dramatically decreased by the end of May," Birx said in an interview with Fox News on Saturday. The number of cases, she added, will likely continue to rise. "As we expand testing more and more into the greater community with much less symptoms, we'll see additional cases," Birx said. She added that increased testing could help identify mild or asymptomatic cases "currently circulating in the community." But in an interview with NBC News on Sunday, Birx said social distancing would need to continue for several more months. "Social distancing will be with us through the summer to really ensure that we protect one another as we move through these phases," Birx said. Her comments follow the decision of several states to ease social distancing and stay-at-home restrictions. Georgia allowed certain non-essential businesses — including gyms, hair salons, and tattoo parlors — to reopen on Friday. That same day, Oklahoma reopened state parks and outdoor recreation areas, and allowed personal care businesses to resume appointments. Alaska also reopened retail businesses and dine-in services restaurants on Friday, under the proviso that those businesses operate at 25% capacity. Some public-health experts fear that easing restrictions too soon could allow cases to rebound. Health experts predict the US will see cases in the fall The end of the coronavirus pandemic will most likely be tied to the development of a vaccine — a process that could take about 18 months. On Wednesday, Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he was "convinced" the US will see coronavirus cases in the fall. In the meantime, public-health experts agree that social distancing is key to controlling the outbreak. "Every model shows that if we open things up now, we will just have a rebound," Elizabeth Halloran, a biostatistician at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and University of Washington, told Business Insider on April 13.
Vice President Mike Pence told Fox News on Friday that the US "will largely have this coronavirus epidemic behind us" by Memorial Day weekend. A day earlier, he gave a similar timeline to radio host Rush Limbaugh. "I truly do believe if current trend lines hold, that by early June, we could largely have this coronavirus epidemic behind us, and begin to see our nation open back up and go back to work," Pence told Limbaugh. "If some of those early studies hold out, there will be an awful lot of Americans in the fall and in the winter of next year that actually enjoy a degree of immunity from the coronavirus. That will be a bulwark against this." On Sunday, Birx told NBC News that the vice president was referring to models based on data from Detroit and Louisiana. But Halloran said it's unlikely that most Americans will be immune to the virus before a vaccine becomes available. "If I had to put my nickel on it, we don't have very high herd immunity in this population currently," she said. "We hope that a vaccine could induce an immunity that will at least keep people from dying."Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: How location data can help track and stop the spread of COVID-19
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Dr. Birx urged Americans to 'be together socially, yet distant' amid states reopening and Memorial Day celebrations
Dr. Deborah Birx urged Americans on Sunday that reopening the country hinged on individuals following safety...Dr. Deborah Birx urged Americans on Sunday that reopening the country hinged on individuals following safety recommendations. The White House coronavirus response coordinator appeared on ABC's "This Week" amid reports of crowded beaches for Memorial Day and widespread easing of lockdowns in states across the US. Birx's comment came as the US marked more than 1.6 million coronavirus cases and 96,000 deaths. Public health officials are working "to translate that learning into real change behavior that stays with us so we can continue to drive down the number of cases," Birx said. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Over the holiday weekend, as states eased lockdowns and many Americans broke quarantine to enjoy rising temperatures, Dr. Deborah Birx urged Americans to keep in mind that reopening the country to pre-pandemic activities hinged on individuals following safety recommendations. The White House coronavirus response coordinator appeared on ABC's "This Week" Sunday morning, where she responded to photos of crowded beaches full of Memorial Day revelers by emphasizing that measures to prevent spreading infection like social distancing are "absolutely critical." "If you can't social distance and you're outside, you must wear a mask," Birx said. "We've learned a lot about this virus, but we now need to translate that learning into real change behavior that stays with us so we can continue to drive down the number of cases," Birx said. Birx said public officials were continuing to "communicate" necessary measures as the pandemic wears on, to allow Americans to "be together socially, yet distant." Birx was speaking days after she gave a press conference ahead of the holiday weekend where she said activities like golfing and enjoying beaches weren't off-limits with social distancing. The public-health expert told host Martha Raddatz that similar caution should be taken by worship leaders if they open their doors after President Donald Trump urged them to reopen. Trump said Friday he would designate houses of worship as essential services and "override" governors who did not open them for in-person services, though Business Insider's Grace Panetta and Eliza Relman reported that he likely does not have the authority to do so. "We all have made difficult behavioral changes and that needs to continue to happen," as public places open, Birx said. Birx said guidelines from the CDC remain available for those attending activities but urged caution that "if there is a heightened number of COVID cases, maybe they wait another week." "This only works if we all follow the guidelines and protect one another," Birx told Raddatz. Birx was speaking as the US counted more than 1.6 million cases of and 96,000 deaths from the novel coronavirus. Join the conversation about this story »
Health expert says measures will be in place through summerUS needs ‘breakthrough in testing’ to speed...Health expert says measures will be in place through summerUS needs ‘breakthrough in testing’ to speed up reopeningCoronavirus – latest US updatesCoronavirus – latest global updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageDonald Trump’s coronavirus response coordinator, Dr Deborah Birx, has cautioned that social distancing measures are likely to stay in place throughout the summer, as she sought to downplay the president’s dangerous suggestion that injected disinfectant and ultraviolet light could play a role in the medical treatment of Covid-19. Related: How has the coronavirus transformed Spain? Continue reading...
A top public health expert says US coronavirus pandemic is 'near the end of the beginning' as states are set to reopen
Tom Inglesby, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, said that the US is...Tom Inglesby, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, said that the US is likely "near the end of the beginning" of the novel coronavirus pandemic as officials have found a nationwide plateau in new cases of the virus each day. Despite promising indicators of new cases and deaths from the virus, Inglesby said on "Fox News Sunday" that the US is "not out of the woods by any means," as several states that are set to reopen this week. Inglesby also echoed warnings from Dr. Anthony Fauci that the novel coronavirus could likely become "seasonal" with the possibility of a resurgence later this year, a prediction that suggests a vaccine is critical for the US to reopen. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Tom Inglesby, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, said Sunday that despite promising indicators regarding the novel coronavirus pandemic in the US, the country is still far from the end of the outbreak. When Fox News' Chris Wallace asked Inglesby on "Fox News Sunday" which stage in the coronavirus outbreak he thought the country currently was, the public health expert pointed to a national "plateau" in new cases. "I would say we are maybe near the end of the beginning of the pandemic in this country," Inglesby said, adding that though "we have a plateau in new cases per day, unfortunately, it's a very high plateau" with around 30,000 new cases of COVID-19 and 2,000 deaths every day. "We are not out of the woods by any means but at least we've reached a stable number of new infections and the number of people who are dying," Inglesby said. Inglesby's comments come after Vice President Mike Pence told Fox News' Geraldo Rivera that by Memorial Day Weekend on May 25 "we will largely have this coronavirus epidemic behind us" and states will reopen. That prediction is likely too optimistic, Inglesby told Wallace, as different areas in the country are in different stages of finding new cases that are too unpredictable for a widespread reopening by late May. "At this point, if you go state by state you see that in about half of the country the numbers are still rising day to day, about another third seems to be a leveling off and in a minority of the country the numbers are going down day by day," Inglesby said, adding that he doesn't "think it's likely we will be in that position by Memorial Day." Despite some states and cities easing social distancing orders, Inglesby said that "wherever we are in the epidemic, this virus is going to be with us until we have a vaccine." Inglesby's comments echo warnings from Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious-disease expert, that the novel coronavirus could likely become "seasonal" with the possibility of a resurgence in the outbreak later this year.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: How location data can help track and stop the spread of COVID-19