Story at a glance

  • “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 told NBC’s “Today” show.
  • The three states combined tallied more than 500 deaths Thursday, and Florida and Texas hit record highs for the weekly average of single-day deaths.
  • The U.S. Thursday topped 4 million confirmed cases with more than 144,000 deaths.

Several months after New York state was the epicenter of the nation’s coronavirus outbreak, White House coronavirus task force coordinator Deborah Birx said the country is now dealing with “three New Yorks” as cases surge in Texas, Florida and California. 

“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 told NBC’s “Today” show.


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“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,” Birx said.


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The three states combined tallied more than 500 deaths Thursday, and Florida and Texas hit record highs for the weekly average of single-day deaths, according to The Washington Post. California earlier this week surpassed New York as the state with the most reported coronavirus cases.

New York has confirmed 414,000 coronavirus cases and still leads the country with more than 32,000 coronavirus-related deaths. During the peak of its outbreak, the state had several days when it recorded more than 500 deaths. New York’s daily number of COVID-19 cases and deaths has since fallen dramatically. 

When asked about her response to people who still doubt how threatening the coronavirus is and dismiss the crisis as overblown, Birx described the outbreak as “very serious and very real,” calling on Americans to act responsibly. 

“It’s hard for people to understand how deeply you have to clamp down," Birx said. "We have to change our behavior now before this virus completely moves back up through the north."

Her comments come one day after the U.S. topped 4 million confirmed cases with more than 144,000 deaths since the pandemic began. The number of daily COVID-19 related deaths also surpassed 1,000 for the third consecutive day Thursday. 

On Wednesday, President Trump acknowledged that the outbreak in the U.S. may “get worse before it gets better,” and asked all Americans to wear face coverings to help slow the spread of COVID-19.


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Published on Jul 24, 2020