Dr. Birx says 'we have to change our behavior now' as U.S. faces 'essentially three New Yorks'

Deborah Birx
(Image credit: NBC)

The White House's coronavirus task force coordinator is imploring Americans to change their behavior "now."

Dr. Deborah Birx, response coordinator of President Trump's coronavirus task force, spoke to Today on Friday as new COVID-19 cases have continued to climb in the U.S. and especially in Texas, California, and Florida.

"I just want to make it clear to the American public: what we have right now are essentially three New Yorks with these three major states," Birx said. "And so we're really having to respond as an American people, and that's why you hear us calling for masks and increased social distancing to really stop the spread of this epidemic."

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New York was for a time the hardest-hit state in the U.S. during the coronavirus pandemic; its daily number of new COVID-19 cases has since fallen. California earlier this week surpassed New York as the state with the most reported coronavirus cases total, though its population is much larger, and New York has still reported more COVID-19 deaths. Texas and Florida have also faced surging COVID-19 cases in recent weeks.

Birx described the nation's COVID-19 outbreak as "very serious," and speaking on Trump's recent decision to cancel the Florida portion of the Republican National Convention, she said this is an example of the kind of steps that are needed as the virus continues to spread.

"This is a signal to the American people: we have to change our behavior now before this virus completely moves back up through the north," she said. "We can do that, and we can do that as an American people." Brendan Morrow

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Brendan Morrow

Brendan is a staff writer at The Week. A graduate of Hofstra University with a degree in journalism, he also writes about horror films for Bloody Disgusting and has previously contributed to The Cheat Sheet, Heavy, WhatCulture, and more. He lives in New York City surrounded by Star Wars posters.