Some “shoots of success” indicate social distancing guidelines and stay-at-home orders have begun to flatten the curve of COVID-19 infections in the U.S., according to White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx, but Americans need to remain vigilant.
“We are beginning to see some flattening of the number of new cases per day in specific metro areas,” Birx said Wednesday on “CBS This Morning.” She also praised “early shoots of success” in Washington and California, two states that swiftly took action to mitigate the spread of the pandemic.
In another interview Wednesday on NBC’s “Today,” Birx said the curve has been “persistently flat” in Washington and California.
In New York and New Jersey, the number of cases initially rose much more sharply, but “we’re seeing that stabilizing, and that gives us great encouragement,” Birx said. She predicted the number of deaths will continue to increase over the next week to 10 days, as many people now gravely ill were infected in the weeks before the states enacted “strict mitigation.”
Every state and metropolitan area will have a different curve, Birx said, so Americans should continue to follow restrictions recommended by the White House and public health experts.
“What’s really important is that people don’t turn these early signs of hope into releasing from the 30 days to stop the spread,” she said. “It’s really critical.”
If people relax and fail to maintain social distancing, she said, “a very acute second wave” of infections may erupt.
Some state officials also have cautioned against loosening restrictions too early. California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said Tuesday there’s evidence the curve “is bending, but it’s also stretching.” He predicted infections in his state could peak in May.
In New York, the epicenter of the pandemic of the U.S., officials this week have pointed to signs that the curve is flattening, while cautioning that it may be too early to identify a clear pattern. Over the weekend, the death rate slackened, but then on Tuesday surged to mark the state’s highest single-day toll.
Still, New York’s number of hospitalizations and admissions to intensive care are slowing, and projections show that the curve may be reaching a plateau, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said Tuesday.
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