Warning that the recent spread of the Coronavirus in Sunbelt states could soon shift to the Midwest, a top White House virus expert said Sunday that officials need to first slow the transmission of the virus in their states before starting school for the fall.
"We need to stop the cases. And then we can talk about safely reopening," Dr. Deborah Birx told CNN's State of the Union on Sunday.
Pressed about the current status of the virus outbreak, Birx said the threat certainly is not going away.
"I want to be very clear. What we are seeing today is different from March and April," Birx said.
“It is extraordinarily widespread. It’s into the rural as equal urban areas,” Birx added.
Birx even took the step of publicly suggesting that people wear a mask at home - to prevent spread among members of a household with kids, parents, and grandparents.
The numbers about the Coronavirus outbreak changed dramatically in the past six weeks, as the average number of new cases reported each day has tripled since mid-June, from 21,000 a day to 63,000.
Meantime, the number of virus deaths reported by states has more than doubled since it hit a low of 465 deaths per day on July 6.
The latest numbers still show most of the recent jump in virus cases and deaths have occurred in Florida, Texas, and California.
But there are other states from the South - like Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee - which are seeing more cases as well.
On Friday, Dr. Anthony Fauci told Congress that accelerated work continues on a vaccine, as he once more expressed confidence that clinical trials should be finished by early next year.