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Birx to join Pence in Texas, Arizona as coronavirus cases spike

Vice President Pence will travel to Texas, Arizona and Florida over the next week as each state struggles to contain spikes in coronavirus cases.

Deborah Birx, the coordinator of the White House coronavirus response, will join Pence in Texas on Sunday and in Arizona on Tuesday. Pence will travel solo to Florida and meet with Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisTrump jokes he'll 'find a way' to fire Gov. DeSantis if he loses Florida Exclusive poll: Biden up in Mich., Pa., tied with Trump in Fla. The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump, Biden hit campaign trail in Florida MORE (R), he said.

The vice president was previously scheduled to attend political events in each state, but he indicated at a coronavirus task force briefing on Friday that the visits will also partly focus on how each state is handling the pandemic.

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Pence said Friday that the administration is focused on 16 states that are seeing increases in coronavirus cases. Arizona, Texas and Florida have seen the sharpest increases, worrying experts.

Florida shattered its single-day record of new coronavirus cases reported on Friday, adding an additional 8,942 cases, according to the state's Department of Health.

Texas has reported more than 5,400 new cases of the coronavirus on each of the last three days, setting successively higher one-day records.

Both states announced Friday they would shutter bars or ban alcohol consumption on site in an effort to get the outbreaks under control.

Arizona recorded another 3,000 cases Wednesday, bringing the state's total confirmed number of infections to 63,000. The percent of tests coming back positive is about 20 percent, which indicates that there is not enough testing and the virus is spreading widely. 

While in Texas, Pence is scheduled to visit First Baptist Church for a "Celebrate Freedom Rally." He is also scheduled to deliver remarks in Arizona and Florida at "Faith in America" events to rally evangelical supporters for the Trump campaign.