Dr. Deborah Birx, the coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, said on Friday that she expected to soon see an increase in deaths among Americans infected with the virus—a statement placing her at odds with President Donald Trump, who has touted a falling death rate as a sign of success in his approach to the virus.
“In the United States we have an increase in the number of cases over the last particularly three weeks,” Birx said during a virtual COVID-19 conference. “We have not seen this result in increased mortality but that is expected as the disease continues to spread in some of our large metro areas.”
Brix’s remarks come as multiple states across the South and Southwest scramble to contain new outbreaks where case numbers, positivity rates, hospitalizations, and deaths are steadily increasing. Three states—California, Texas, and Florida—this week recorded their highest daily death tolls since the pandemic began. According to Birx’s presentation on Friday, four states accounted for 50 percent of new cases “with unfortunately increases in deaths.” The daily case numbers, her slides read, have increased so rapidly in 154 communities that they triggered an “emergency country alert.”