“Every metro area should assume that they could have an outbreak equivalent to New York and do everything right now to prevent it,” Birx said on “Meet the Press.”
Birx called on leaders from every region to start preparing for major outbreaks, saying that it will be too late to contain once cases start reaching hospitals.
“No state, no metro area will be spared, and the sooner we react and the sooner the states and the metro areas react and ensure that they put in full mitigation, at the same time understanding exactly what their hospitals need, then we’ll be able to move forward together and protect the most Americans,” Birx said.
But Birx urged city dwellers not to try and flee once the virus starts spreading in their region.
“What we’re trying to say to everyone is ‘when this virus comes to your metro area, please stay in your metro area where your care can be provided,’ because it’s spreading virus more quickly around the United States,” she said.
The Big Apple reported more than 30,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Saturday afternoon, including 672 deaths, the city health department said.
Meanwhile, across the country, there have been at least 124,000 cases with more than 2,100 deaths, according to figures from John Hopkins University.