The latest reports show some red flags about the intensity of the recent coronavirus cases. Dr. Deborah Birx who is a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force. She has warned both local and state leaders in 11 US cities that a large number of the diagnostic tests are showing positive results for coronavirus. She says the leaders should take ‘aggressive’ measures to lessen the outbreaks in their areas.
The cities that Dr. Birx has pointed out are Cleveland, Indianapolis, Baltimore, Columbus, Las Vegas, Nashville, Minneapolis, St.Louis, Miami, Pittsburgh, and New Orleans.
This call however isn’t the only private warning regarding the danger of coronavirus outbreaks that are only meant for the officials and not to the public. This news came just a few days after the U.S Center for Public Integrity has made the information public from the White House saying the White House has arranged an in-depth report that shows 18 states as red zones for new COVID-19 cases but the data wasn’t released to the public.
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Increasing test positivity is evidence that an area or community is failing to control the virus outbreak in the community.
Bill Hanage is an epidemiologist from Harvard. He says that an increasing test positivity is likely to be observed in all areas that immediately reopened and had very easy-going social distancing rules in Place. He believes that the White House should make its data public.
He says a pandemic is no small thing that can be physically hidden under some carpet. He believes the most effective way to handle a crisis or natural disaster is, to be honest, and straightforward with people and to give them important information they can use to make decisions for themselves and in doing so for the communities at large.
Birx advises hundreds of emergency managers among other local and state leaders to act quickly so that they can stem the new cases. She recommended that the leaders make sure to employ contact tracing strategies in areas where increasing test positivity is reported.
Public Integrity obtained a recording of her saying that when test positivity numbers go up it is the right time to start efforts of mitigation. She admitted that though some of the leaders will feign indifference and wait out a 5 to 5 and a half percent increase, she warns that it won’t be wise if they do because before they know it within three or five days numbers will go up dramatically.
Birx reminded that the federal government was encouraged to see declines in test positivity in areas like Phoenix and San Antonio. She warned at the same time, however, that Sunbelt was moving the wrong way with its test positivity reports.
She pointed out how the epidemic began as a very southern and western problem but it grew eventually to the East Coast into places like Arkansas, Tennessee, and up till Missouri, Colorado, and Baltimore. Therefore she was assertive about the need for aggressive measures to stop the spread.
So far it is unclear for whom the warnings were intended and who was invited to attend the call which was hosted by the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. A spokesperson for the Cleveland mayor’s office, Nancy Kelsey-Carroll says they did not attend such a call although Birx was recorded to have said that Cleveland was facing increased test positivity.
An epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins University, Caitlin Rivers says people in the office aren’t the only ones making important decisions, such information is necessary for the public to keep their families and themselves safe.
The White House However is yet to comment on the released warnings by Birx.