President Donald Trump has stated that the country will not shut down again if there is another wave of the coronavirus.
But Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator, stressed that the virus is new and that the United States has not really dealt with a similar situation — where the whole country has shut down.
“We act like we’ve actually done this before,” Birx said during an interview on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. “We’re trying to understand, during this period of coming out of a closure, how do we maintain openness and safety. And I think that’s what we’re going to be learning through May, June, and July.”
Birx also said that medical officials are preparing for a potential second wave of the virus, including stocking up on medical equipment.
When asked if she thought the country would close again, she said, “It’s difficult to tell, and I really am data-driven, so I’m collecting data right now about whether governors and whether states and whether communities are able to open safely.”
Birx said it is key that officials are able to find asymptomatic cases of the virus, to help prevent people from inadvertently transmitting the virus.
Birx added, “All of this proactive testing needs to be in place and needs to continue to be in place because that will determine safely remaining open in the fall.”
Watch the video below:
Asked about Trump’s comments that if there is a COVID-19 second wave, the U.S. will stay open, Dr. Deborah Birx says they are “trying to learn” how to “reopen safely.”— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) May 24, 2020
“It’s difficult to tell,” Birx says when asked if she sees the country closing again. https://t.co/27wiSnRlJE pic.twitter.com/IchVQ7Kzfx
During an event on Thursday, Trump said, “We are going to put out the fires. We’re not going to close the country.”
“We can put out the fires. Whether it is an ember or a flame, we are going to put it out. But we are not closing our country,” he added.
While Trump has maintained that he would like the country to stay open, medical professionals have stressed that the future of the coronavirus is uncertain because it is new.
Additionally, they have warned that if the country is not prepared for a second wave, it could result in “the deleterious consequence of more infections and more deaths.”