The White Home is worried concerning the unfold of COVID-19 in Nebraska, Omaha

Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, said on a private call she was concerned about the spread of COVID-19 in 10 locations including Omaha and Nebraska.

This article on the White House’s Coronavirus Task Force’s recent appeal was originally published by the Center for Public Integrity, a not-for-profit newsroom based in Washington, DC

By Liz Essley Whyte

The White House coronavirus task force sees worrying coronavirus numbers in 10 local areas across the country, although their data shows improvement in the Sunbelt states. This comes from a private call between the head of the task force, Dr. Deborah Birx, and state and local officials emerged on Wednesday.

“We are seeing encouraging signs in the south,” Birx said on a taped call from the Center for Public Integrity. “We are concerned that both Baltimore and Atlanta will remain at a very high level – [also] Kansas City, Portland, Omaha [and] Of course, what we talked about in the Central Valley [of California]. ”

Birx then pointed out four other cities that are doing relatively well – Boston, Chicago, Detroit, and Washington, DC – that are still seeing a small increase in the percentage of positive COVID-19 tests, according to the White House. These areas have to “come on top,” she said.

Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, and Virginia are also “of concern,” Birx said. She went on to stress that the current outbreaks were different from those in the spring because they penetrated more rural areas. She said similar things over the weekend, telling CNN that the pandemic had entered a “new phase”. President Donald Trump later criticized her on Twitter, calling her “pathetic”.

When called on Wednesday, Birx also said residents in “red” or “yellow” counties – places with a high percentage of coronavirus cases or positive tests – should stop family celebrations.

“If you’re in a red or yellow county, bringing family members together could potentially lead to super-spreader events, especially indoors,” she said. “We’ll find this in the south and move to the Midwest.”

The White House report identifying which districts are “red” or “yellow” has not been published, although it is being distributed to governors. Public Integrity first revealed the July 14th report, and the New York Times received the July 23rd report.

An analysis of the public integrity of publicly available data shows that 23 states would now be in the red zone for cases per population based on the White House Coronavirus Task Force criteria.

Birx said on the private call that California and Nebraska recently joined the red zone and Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia were dropped out of the red zone based on the percentage of positive tests over the past week. Experts have said that test positivity rates can indicate whether an outbreak is under control.

Birx did not comment on schools that the president insisted on reopening.

In a similar briefing two weeks ago, Birx warned eleven cities to take “aggressive” measures to tackle the rising cases of coronavirus.

Thousands of state and local officials are invited to participate in the calls made by the White House’s Bureau of Interstate Affairs, according to White House official William Crozer, who introduced Birx on Wednesday’s conference call. However, it is not clear which local guides will hear Birx’s warnings.

Executives in multiple cities weren’t on the job two weeks ago when Birx located them or didn’t know about them.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

Chris Zubak-Skees contributed to this report.

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