Dr. Deborah Birx, President Trump’s Coronavirus Response Coordinator, warned the nation’s governors during a conference call that 70 coronavirus testing sites had been destroyed amid widespread protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
During the Monday call, a record of which obtained by the Daily beastBirx said that governors should “fight now to ensure that tests are available in urban areas.” Vice President Mike Pence, the head of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said spikes in instances due to the turmoil are “a problem that our team is following and that there is concern.”
Birx’s comments reflect those of Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has expressed concern that protests could peak in cases. “It’s a perfect set-up for further spread of the virus in terms of creating these blips that can lead to some waves,” Fauci admitted last week on local DC radio station WTOP.
Members of the National Guard of Washington, D.C., have already tested positive for coronavirus since deploying on May 31 to aid mass demonstrations and riots in the nation’s capital.
Data shows that since Memorial Day weekend, Texas, California, Oregon, North and South Carolina, Mississippi, Utah, Arkansas, and Arizona have all increased sharply in hospitalizations of coronavirus as states have begun to open after months of closings.
“There is active community dissemination in California, North Carolina, Utah, and Arizona,” Birx said during the call, adding that her team had seen evidence of community dissemination in “Spanish metro neighborhoods.”