Dr. Deborah Birx warned on Sunday that the coronavirus pandemic has entered “a new phase” in the U.S. and said the virus is “extraordinarily widespread” in rural areas that missed earlier waves.
“What we are seeing today is different from March and April,” Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator, said in an interview with CNN. “It is extraordinarily widespread. It’s into the rural as equal urban areas.” The virus has now infected more than 4.6 million Americans.
“To everybody who lives in a rural area, you are not immune or protected from this virus,” she added.
Birx said that all Americans, no matter where they live, should follow the guidelines of wearing masks, practicing social distancing and maintaining good hygiene, such as regular hand washing. But she pointed out a special risk for rural residents and said some should already assume they have the virus.
“If you’re in multi-generational households, and there’s an outbreak in your rural area or in your city, you need to really consider wearing a mask at home — assuming that you’re positive, if you have individuals in your households with comorbidities,” Birx said.