The coronavirus task force has asked the Centers for Disease Control to investigate new cases of coronavirus in Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington D.C.
New daily coronavirus cases are refusing to fall in cities despite ongoing closings that cause concern, the task force coordinator, Dr. Deborah Birx, revealed on Friday.
“Even though Washington has remained closed, L.A. has remained closed, Chicago has remained closed, we are still seeing these cases in progress,” she told reporters at a White House press briefing.
“And I asked the CDC and the CDC works with the Chicago area and that area [D.C] and L.A. to really understand where all these new cases are coming from and what we need to do to prevent them in the future.
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Dr. Deborah Birx said Friday that the White House coronavirus task force has asked the Centers for Disease Control to investigate cases in Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington D.C.
Dr. Birx used graphs to show how the three cities fare in New York, where a high number of new daily cases are still reported, but there has been a dramatic drop from the worst of the epidemic.
At the other end of the sale, Detroit, Boston, Atlanta and Miami have all dramatically reduced the number of new daily cases.
“There are concerns about Chicago and the Washington D.C. area – two areas that have gone through the log stage and are now at a high plateau with an unchanged number of cases each day,” said Dr. Birx.
“We are concerned that the cities have remained closed and the metros have remained closed but that the number of cases remains high,” she added.
The cases in Washington D.C, in particular, remain problematic. As of Saturday morning, there have been 7,893 cases and 418 deaths.
The capital’s coronavirus mortality rate is higher than in all but four states: New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Connecticut.
The district also continues to have one of the highest positive test rates in the country.
Dr. Birx pointed out how New York managed to cut its positive test rate from nearly 40% six weeks ago to just under 20%, while 42 states are now less than 10% positive on a moving average 7 days.
“The number one metro with the highest positive rate is D.C., which includes northern Virginia and Maryland Montgomery County and PG County,” said Dr. Birx.
“It is followed by Baltimore, Chicago and Minneapolis and so these are the places where we have seen a dropout or an increase in cases, like in Minneapolis.
“You can see that all the other metros are all almost exclusively below 10%, so we consider this to be great progress at all levels.”
Task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx has shown evidence that D.C. continues to have one of the highest positive test rates in the country despite ongoing closings
Dr. Deborah Birx pointed out how New York City, shown in the upper gray line, had managed to significantly reduce new daily cases, but Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington D.C. remained fairly stagnant
According to the Washington Post, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan claimed that most of the infections in their states were in the crowded suburbs closest to the district.
This comes after the two states relaxed their lockout restrictions last week, but granted an exemption to the suburbs of D.C.
“As Governor Northam has made it clear, Northern Virginia and the greater Washington area face unique challenges – which is why communities in North Virginia remain under a stay order” , a Northam spokesperson told the Washington Post.
“Our administration continues to focus on expanding testing and tracing capabilities in these hard-hit communities, including free community testing for underinsured or otherwise vulnerable communities.”
Washington area leaders, including officials from Maryland counties in Montgomery and Prince George, however, believe that reopening in the area could begin in late May or early June.
The cumulative D.C. positivity rate is 18% and has been gradually decreasing since April, reported The Post.
In Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti also said that the city is progressing “steadily” by announcing the lifting of certain restrictions.
Dr. Birx’s comment that the city remained a hotspot came on the same day that the Department of Justice sent a letter to L.A. officials saying that any extension of the home stay order could be illegal.
There have been 43,052 cases and 2,049 deaths in Los Angeles County.
County accounts for 56% of coronavirus-related deaths in the state, and nearly 50% of all state cases but there has been a 12% drop in deaths in the past week and a 15% drop in hospitalizations.
DOJ’s deputy attorney general, Eric Dreiband, wrote the letter saying that the DOJ was concerned that the city was pursuing “an arbitrary and brutal approach” to home orders.
Friday, Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti (photo) received a letter from the Department of Justice against the “arbitrary and illegal” extension of the county lock.
“Reports from your recent public statements indicate that you have suggested the possibility of a long-term foreclosure for residents of the city and county of Los Angeles, regardless of the legal justification for these restrictions,” Dreiband wrote according to Los Angeles Times.
“Such an approach can be both arbitrary and illegal. “
The letter continued, stating that although the DOJ “recognizes and appreciates your duty to protect the health and safety of residents of the Los Angeles area”, it is true that “government authority, however, does not ‘is not unlimited and must be exercised reasonably.’
“Simply put, there is no pandemic exception to the US Constitution and its Bill of Rights,” the letter also noted.
Earlier in May, Los Angeles County Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer had suggested that the order to stay at the Los Angeles County home would likely be extended by a few more months – perhaps during the summer – although Garcetti has slowly eased restrictions, allowing sidewalk pickup at businesses and reopening of beaches and hiking trails among other outdoor activities.
On the same day that Dr. Birx appointed Chicago as a hotspot, the DOJ also questioned the Illinois home stay order.
DOH said on Friday it supported the trial of Illinois state representative Darren Bailey regarding the closure of state governor J.B. Pritzker.
“The DOJ has filed a statement of interest in support of the Republican Bailey lawsuit, which challenges whether the Democratic Governor of Illinois can maintain the state lockdown order beyond the 30 days allowed by state law. ‘State,’ according to Fox News.
“In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Governor of Illinois has, in the past two months, sought to rely on authority under the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Act to impose drastic restrictions on almost every aspect of the lives of Illinois citizens, significantly compromising in some cases their ability to maintain their economic livelihoods, “added the agency.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Birx’s assessment of the city as a hot spot is not supported by the figures.
According to NBC Chicago, there were a total of 68,949 confirmed cases in Cook County on Friday afternoon with 40,465 of the aforementioned cases in the city of Chicago.
Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, admitted on Friday that Cook County has the most cases of coronavirus in all counties in the United States.
“Everything is going carefully in the right direction,” added Arwady.
Across the country, Dr. Birx reported that there has been a continuing decrease in the death rate, the number of people coming to hospital emergency rooms and hospitalizations over time.
“We can now see that there has been a more than 50% drop in new hospitalizations,” said Birx.
“Although each region of the country is different, we are encouraged to see these hospitalizations decrease. “
“As a country, we have a decreasing number of diseases,” she added.