Birx says 'it's difficult to tell' if country will close again

Birx says 'it's difficult to tell' if country will close again
© Getty

Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator, said Sunday that it is difficult to tell if the country will close again because of the pandemic. 

Birx told ABC’s “This Week” that officials will learn in the coming months how to “maintain openness and safety” while reopening.

“I want to be very clear to the American people – we are preparing for that potential fall issue,” she said, adding that officials are focused on gathering personal protective equipment and ventilators and advancing therapeutics and vaccine development.

“But you don’t see the country closing down again,” “This Week” host Martha Raddatz asked Birx.

“It’s difficult to tell,” Birx answered. She said she is collecting data on whether states and localities are able to reopen safely.

Anthony FauciAnthony FauciCNN's Burnett presses Navarro on hydroxychloroquine in combative interview: 'You're an economist, not a scientist' Overnight Health Care: Fauci says family has faced threats | Moderna to charge to a dose for its vaccine | NYC adding checkpoints to enforce quarantine Fauci says family has faced threats, harassment amid pandemic MORE, a top infectious disease expert and another member of the White House task force, has said a second wave of the coronavirus is “inevitable.” But President TrumpDonald John TrumpLincoln Project ad dubs Jared Kushner the 'Secretary of Failure' Pence: Chief Justice Roberts 'has been a disappointment to conservatives' Twitter bans Trump campaign until it deletes tweet with COVID-19 misinformation MORE said the country will not close again if a second wave of the coronavirus strikes.

Birx said states need to improve proactive testing in order to track down asymptomatic cases, which are harder to identify but can still infect others.

“This is why we’ve asked for proactive, 100 percent testing of all residents and workers,” she said.

“All of this proactive testing needs to be in place and needs to continue to be in place because that will determine safely reopening in the fall,” she added.

The coronavirus has infected more than 1.6 million people in the U.S., killing at least 96,000 people, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.