HARTFORD, Conn. — Not only did Dr. Deborah Birx meet with UConn officials Thursday, but she also met with the Governor and state health officials. The good news about COVID-19 is the fatality rate is a quarter of what it was. The bad news is Dr. Birx is concerned about Connecticut’s data.
Dr. Birx says right now, the Northeast is where the South was right before it became one big hot zone. Her cautionary tale comes on the day of the Phase 3 reopening of Connecticut where indoor capacity can increase. But indoor activity is what Dr. Birx warns against.
"I was particularly nervous about the Northeast," she said.
Having worked to battle HIV, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, Dr. Deborah Birx is one of the most trusted scientific voices on COVID-19.
She said, "I have a deep respect for this particular virus because if it’s level of asymptomatic contagion."
As colder weather moves in and the heat kicks on, humidity goes down and droplets stay in the air longer. That increases the risk of transmission. And with the holidays approaching, Dr. Birx says seemingly harmless meals with healthy-looking people can become spreader events.
"You can see from the high holy days you can see the risk that could come from Thanksgiving," she said. "It could be six people in someone’s house. It could be a dinner party. If I’ve done that then five to seven days later I need to go get tested."
The public health message from Dr. Birx has been consistent even when the President is not. When FOX61 asked her about President Trump’s unmasked entrance into the White House while infected with COVID, she wouldn’t directly respond.
"We have been able to give our best public health and scientific advice to leadership and we continue to do that," said Birx.
When asked if she has addressed the President about undermining the public health message, she said:
"I’ve been on the road, so I have not been in conversation with any of the leadership while I am on the road and I would certainly not engage with leaders when they are battling an illness at this time. He has a whole team responsible for his illness and I’m not a part of that team."
And when asked if the President should wear a mask, she said, "That would always be my advice to every individual in this country."
And Dr. Birx warns that what worked in the Spring won’t work in the fall. In Spring we were trying to stop community spread, but that ship has sailed. The virus is here and spread is happening. Birx said it’s incumbent on all of us to wear the mask, keep our distance, and protect each other as a community.