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Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House response coordinator for the coronavirus task force, sent a hard-hitting warning about social distancing by sharing a deeply personal story.
Birx recalled his grandmother’s guilt after the 1918 pandemic, known as the “Spanish flu”. As a child, his grandmother transmitted the flu to his mother, who had just given birth, who then fell ill and died, said the doctor.
“She never forgot that it was the child who was at school who innocently brought the flu home soon after her mother gave birth,” said Birx. “My grandmother lived with this for 88 years. … It’s not a theory. It’s a reality.”
“No American wants to spread the coronavirus,” said Pence. “While the risk remains low for the average American, who will experience mild symptoms and recover. But for the elderly, everyone should train for 15 days to slow the spread. “
Birx and Pence said that when people ask how they can help, they tell them to follow the mitigation guidelines, which is to stay home if you’re feeling sick, to maintain 6 feet of social distance from others, avoid social gatherings and stay in self-quarantine if you come into contact with others. But in almost half of the country, directives must remain entirely at home, except to provide an essential service.
Birx on Tuesday called anyone who recently left the New York metropolitan area to quarantine for 14 days.
Birx said the new cases have been constant “but they are not increasing more than the day-to-day increase”. She said the United States can expect more hospital visits because of the time it took weeks before mitigation efforts were in place.
Birx said that even in New York, the number of new cases had remained “constant” in the past three days. She notably called on those in New York to continue to do their part to slow the spread.
Fox News Kristina Biddle contributed to this report.