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White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx told several state and local officials in nine cities seeing an increase trend in positive COVID-19 cases to "get on top of it" this week, according to multiple reports.
Birx warned the leaders of the nine cities — Atlanta; Omaha, Neb.; Boston; Kansas City, Mo.; Portland, Ore.; Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit and Washington, D.C. – during a private call Wednesday, The Center for Public Integrity reported. Birx was also reportedly concerned about California's Central Valley.
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Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator, speaks with reporters about the coronavirus in the James Brady Briefing Room of the White House, Friday, May 22, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
“We are seeing encouraging signs across the South,” Birx said on the recorded call, according to The Center for Public Integrity. “We are concerned that both Baltimore and Atlanta remain at a very high level — [also] Kansas City, Portland, Omaha [and] of course what we talked about in the Central Valley [of California],” Birx said according to the nonprofit news center.
Birx added that Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia are also "concerning" and remarked that outbreaks in those states are occurring in more rural areas.
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The United States’ leading infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci told one media outlet Thursday that he agreed with Dr. Deborah Birx's warning to those city leaders.
Fauci said Birx was warning the troublesome areas because the increase in percentages of positive COVID-19 tests “is a predictor of trouble ahead,” according to media reports. Fauci told one news outlet, "It's a clear indication that you are getting an uptick in cases, which inevitably, as we've seen in the Southern states, leads to surges and then you get hospitalization and then you get deaths.”
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Birx recently said that the coronavirus outbreak was entering a "new phase," according to reports. The U.S. currently has the most confirmed novel coronavirus cases and deaths of any country with over 4.9 million infections and over 160,000 deaths according to Johns Hopkins University.