Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, on Wednesday offered hope that areas with robust testing capacity and few confirmed coronavirus cases may be able to begin drawing down some of their restrictions.
She cautioned, however, that any changes must be one in a “laser-focused, data driven manner.”
“So when you look at that you can see states that have good surveillance up and running right now where they haven’t really seen significant increases in cases. And so this has got to be done in a very laser-focused, data-driven manner. But as the data comes in, I think we’re really confident that we can actually see places that could do very well with some decreasing restrictions,” Birx said on “The View.”
Dr. Deborah Birx says reopening the country “has got to be done in a very laser-focused, data-driven manner, but as the data has come in, I think we’re very confident that we could see places that could do very well with decreasing restrictions.” https://t.co/cVclFZQmjA pic.twitter.com/sAfvQjQak6
— The View (@TheView) April 15, 2020
The remarks come as President TrumpDonald John TrumpPompeo says WHO needs ‘to do its job’ as Trump moves to halt funding Trump campaign fundraising pitch seeks donations to ‘hold China accountable’ Schumer: Trump thinks coronavirus crisis ‘revolves around him’ MORE continues to push for a way to reopen the economy — or at least portions of it — amid skyrocketing unemployment claims and a stumbling stock market.
It also comes as federal agencies and several states have begun to lay out tentative road maps to reopening.
A draft plan from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Federal Emergency Management Agency called for a step-by-step reopening of the country. It lays out several conditions that must be met before states or localities can reopen, including “steadily decreasing infections” and “public health system capacity for case identification and rapid containment ” and says officials should be ready to retighten social distancing measures if conditions worsen.
“Lifting stay-at-home orders carefully, on a community by community basis, only when ready, will help extend the gains made from this time of collective social distancing,” the draft document states. “Coming out of mitigation in a controlled way, with robust monitoring systems in place to contain new cases and outbreaks will be critical to navigating the next phase of this pandemic.”
California and Oregon laid out similar requirements as they announced on Tuesday their own plans for restarting public life.
Health officials have expressed concerns about preemptively loosening public distancing guidelines on a widespread basis, fearing that taking action too soon could lead to a national resurgence of coronavirus cases. Experts have said the country needs to have a much higher testing capacity and the ability to trace who infected people have been in contact with so they can be isolated as well.
“We have to have something in place that is efficient and that we can rely on, and we’re not there yet,” Anthony FauciAnthony FauciOvernight Health Care: Trump to halt WHO funding amid review | Trump eases back on asserting power over reopening economy | Draft calls for ‘phased’ reopening | US virus death toll passes 25K Pelosi: Ignore Trump, listen to scientists 13 things to know about coronavirus for today MORE, the country’s leading infectious disease expert, said Tuesday.