Dr. Deborah Birx said that it was “difficult to tell” whether a second coronavirus wave in the Fall could cause another national lockdown.
Birx’s Sunday morning interview on ABC’s “This Week” came after President Donald Trump insisted on Thursday that he will not “close” the country if, as Dr. Anthony Fauci expects, cases spike again later this year.
“I think we’re trying to learn right now very carefully about how you reopen safely,” Birx responded when asked by ABC’s Martha Raddatz if that was the “right approach.”
“You know we act like we’ve actually done this before and besides 1918-1919 we’ve not ever closed parts of America and even then the whole country wasn’t closed,” she continued. “We’re trying to understand during this period of coming out of a closure, how do we maintain openness and safety?”
Birx insisted they were “preparing” for a “potential Fall issue” by stockpiling ventilators and PPE and “ensuring that we’re really pushing on therapeutics and vaccine development so we can be ready if the virus does come back in a significant way.”
“But you don’t see the country closing down again?” Raddatz pressed.
“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 responded.
The White House coronavirus task force member mentioned “proactive testing” as a point of potential improvement that could help “find the asymptomatic cases.” (RELATED: ‘China Won’: Tucker Carlson Details ‘Uncomfortable Facts’ About Coronavirus Response In 15-Minute Opening Monologue)
“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,” she concluded.