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White House coronavirus coordinator meets with Whitmer to discuss state's pandemic response

Gretchen Whitmer at a podium

The White House’s coronavirus response coordinator visited Michigan Wednesday.

Dr. Deborah Birx met with Governor Gretchen Whitmer to discuss the state’s response to the pandemic.

Birx says schools should have strong testing plans to find asymptomatic spread when it occurs, but she says some institutions are facing challenges.

We’re working on surging that as they come off the production line, behind our long-term care facilities, to ensure our historically Black colleges and universities, particularly the smaller ones, have access to this.”

Birx says antigen tests can deliver faster results and need to be more widely available. She says those tests could be administered repetitively in schools and nursing homes to monitor new outbreaks of COVID-19.

Birx says the state has done a good job following guidelines to stop the spread of the disease. She says “herd immunity” is not an option for the country.

“Right now in the United States of America we have between 80 and 100 million people with co-morbidities. We have a significant amount of our population over 70. Together, we can protect them. But the only way to protect them is to ensure that we decrease community spread.”

Birx says it’s important for people to socially distance when possible – especially going into Labor Day weekend. She says that includes family gatherings and barbecues, which aid the spread of COVID-19.

Birx says everyone should wear a mask in public and supports state mandates to do so. Governor Whitmer says President Trump should extend that requirement nationally.

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