Birx says COVID-19 outbreak not under control because 'people are on the move'

Deborah Birx said Sunday that the COVID-19 outbreak is not under control in the U.S. because Americans "are on the move."  

When asked about why the U.S. has not been able to stop the coronavirus spread, Birx said on CNN’s 'State of the Union" that she’s learned through studying epidemics that health officials need a "tailored" message "on the ground."

The White House coronavirus task force coordinator said she’s seen through recent travel to 14 states that Americans “are on the move.”

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“Across America right now, people are on the move,” she said. “And so all of our discussions about social distancing and decreasing gatherings to under 10 — as I traveled around the country, I saw all of America moving.”

The public health official also said people who vacationed in “hot spots” should assume they are infected.

Birx added that the U.S. is in a “new phase” of the pandemic and called on all Americans to wear masks and to practice social distancing and proper personal hygiene. 

“What we’re seeing today is different from March and April,” she said. “It is extraordinarily widespread. It’s into the rural as equal urban areas. And to everybody who lives in a rural area, you are not immune or protected from this virus.”

The U.S. has reached more than 4.6 million COVID-19 cases and more than 154,000 deaths during the pandemic, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.