Birx says fall coronavirus outbreaks will not be workplace-driven

The epidemic will instead involve 'family members and social occasions and spreading silently in communities,' Birx said

Top White House coronavirus adviser Dr. Deborah Birx on Wednesday said COVID-19 outbreaks in the fall will not be workplace-driven.

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Her comments came during a roundtable discussion at Stony Brook University, where she addressed some hard-hit regions of the Northeast and opportunities to better contain community spread in upcoming months.

Some areas “across the Northeast experienced something unique in March and April that was not experienced in the South,” she said.

Top White House coronavirus adviser Deborah Birx on Wednesday said COVID-19 outbreaks in the fall will not be workplace driven. Birx is pictured here in the James Brady Briefing Room of the White House, Friday, May 22, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/

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“I think there are still people waiting for the epidemic to look like it looked like before. It’s not going to look like that. It’s not going to be a workplace-driven epidemic.”

Birx said there are still not enough “eyes on the epidemic” through active surveillance sites to identify infections early, implement community mitigation and prevent hospitalizations and deaths. She suggested the university partner with county health officials for a better testing and surveillance effort and “proactively be looking for asymptomatic individuals.”

The epidemic “is going to be what we’ve seen across the South, where it involves family members and social occasions and spreading silently in communities, before and outside of the workplace,” Birx said.

“That’s why it’s important to have that surveillance capacity."

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