A top White House doctor is warning that all metro areas in the United States could see a coronavirus outbreak just like the one New York City is now facing if they fail to take the proper precautions.
Dr. Deborah Birx, who is a top member of the White House’s coronavirus task force, said during an appearance on Meet the Press on Sunday that all major metropolitan areas should already be making preparations for how to handle a large and sudden influx of COVID-19 patients. She called on state and local leaders across the country to put plans in place, including making sure hospitals are fully equipped with the needed supplies.
“No state, no metro area will be spared, and the sooner we react and the sooner the states and the metro areas react and ensure that they put in full mitigation, at the same time understanding exactly what their hospitals need, then we’ll be able to move forward together and protect the most Americans,” Birx said, via the New York Post.
New York City has become the epicenter of the outbreak in the United States, with the virus responsible for claiming one person every 9.5 minutes over the weekend. The surge in cases has left hospital systems overwhelmed, with officials scrambling to build a field hospital in Central Park to help care for critically ill patients.
With the number of cases rising faster than these facilities can handle, some hospitals have also had to take drastic measures to keep up with the number of people dying.
“The state’s health care system is already overwhelmed,” a report from CNN, via WSMV, noted. “One hospital was forced to create a makeshift morgue, and another reported 13 patient deaths in 24 hours.”
The surge in cases came despite the state enacting strict social distancing measures, closing all non-essential businesses and calling on residents to remain in their homes except for necessary trips.
Birx also warned that people living in hard-hit areas should not try to flee to other regions, advising people to stay in a place where care can be provided to them. There have been reports of New Yorkers attempting to flee the area, an action that Birx said only spreads the virus further. This has also led the CDC to call for 14-day quarantines for anyone who has recently been in the New York City area and left, and the state of Florida is even setting up highway checkpoints to look for travelers coming from New York to ensure that they are quarantined.