Deborah Birx, the White House’s coronavirus coordinator, warned that the US has entered a new phase of the coronavirus pandemic and also urged people to follow the safety precautions including wearing masks and observe social distancing as the rate of deaths and infections from coronavirus in the US including in the urban and rural areas rise sharply.
As of today, more than 4.8 million people in the US have been confirmed as infected and at least 158,000 people have died, according to John Hopkins University data. The death toll of the US is predicted to reach more than 173,000 by the 22nd of August according to a forecast by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
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According to Birx the situation of coronavirus in the US is very different from what it was in March and April as the virus is extraordinarily widespread. She believes anyone who lives in rural areas or anywhere in America is not immune to the virus and therefore has to socially distance and wear face masks.
Health officials have been recommending for months now to wear face masks and to social distance but despite a continuing surge in the coronavirus cases some people in the US are still electing to attend social gatherings and refuse to wear face masks. Physician and Professor at George Washington University Hospital Dr. James Philips believes that stricter measures are required to be in place including a stay at home order in some communities to control the recent outbreaks.
Nearly 30 states around the country have imposed new restrictions or paused their reopening plans to combat the rise in cases and almost 40 states have some kind of restriction to use face coverings. As some parts of the US are preparing to reopen schools and colleges, these efforts to slow the spread of the virus are necessary.
Dr. Philips believes that the US government hasn’t been able to control the virus seriously as the number of cases is increasing in many states and now as the schools and colleges are planning to reopen, the problem can be compounded.
Birx added that the reopening of schools will have to be done very carefully and areas in which there is a rise in the number of infections should control the rise of cases first before talking about reopening of schools and colleges. She said that if there is a high caseload and active community spread of the virus in an area people should not go to bars, not have parties, and not have large gatherings as the government is asking people to learn how to socially distance so that this epidemic can be controlled.
The CDC issued some guidelines in July stating that the schools should be reopened as children suffer more from schools being closed than from coronavirus. They also recommended closing schools if there is a considerable transmission of the infection. The guidelines also stated that children are less likely to spread the virus but recent studies suggest that the children are as likely to contribute to the virus as adults.
Birx believes that there is a pattern being noticed regarding coronavirus in the US by the experts, that younger Americans often bring the virus in their household without knowing, as many of them are asymptomatic, they then pass it to older residents including their parents and grandparents. She added that people living in Multigenerational households in places experiencing outbreaks should wear masks at their homes and assume that they are covid19 positive if they are living with people with underlying conditions or older people who are more at risk from the virus.