Dr. Birx hopeful for vaccine, but confident community spread can be stopped now

(WISH) – A member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force said all of us have the power to stop the spread of the coronavirus this Fall before there is a vaccine.

White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx spoke at a media event in Minnesota on Sunday and said that while she is hopeful for a vaccine, she is also convinced that community spread can be stopped right now.

“Not only is the virus real, but the consequence of the virus is real, the hospitalizations that we still have every week is real. The number of Americans we have lost to this virus are real, but what is also real is that we have a way to prevent its spread. And I think this really needs to be a balanced message of we have power against this virus, but it requires all of us to exert our power together,” said Dr. Birx.

Dr. Birx said people have the power to work together, by wearing masks, social distancing, and avoiding crowds. Birx pointed out that crowds are not just situations such as large concerts, but also backyard barbecues with 25 people who aren’t wearing masks. She said people taking precautions now, could make a big difference for the Fall season.

“Don’t wait for the vaccine to do the right thing. Do the right thing today, because if we do the right thing today, we go into the fall with much fewer cases,” said Birx. “Right now we gain freedom from wearing our mask and socially distancing. With a vaccine, it is a very different potential interaction for all of us. And, so yes, I am hopeful for a vaccine. But, I am also very convinced right now that we can stop the community spread by wearing masks, social distancing, and avoiding crowds,” said Birx.

Birx also said that she is hopeful that when the data becomes available and the American people can see that a vaccine is safe and effective, that they will want to get vaccinated.


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