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White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said the COVID-19 pandemic is “extraordinarily widespread” throughout the United States and suggested that people should wear a mask at home “if you have individuals in your households” who have chronic illnesses that could exacerbate the effect of COVID-19, as the United States hit 155,000 deaths over the weekend.
"What we are seeing today is different from March and April,” Birx said in an appearance on CNN on Sunday. “It is extraordinarily widespread. It's into the rural as equal as urban areas.”
In total, new cases are increasing in 17 states and territories and mostly staying the same in 30 states and territories, according to the New York Times. Alarmingly, new deaths are also increasing in 30 states.
U.S. pharmaceutical company Moderna, which has received nearly $1 billion in federal funding, began its Phase III trial of its coronavirus vaccine candidate last week. But the Trump administration appears to be pushing to get a vaccine available to the public —normally a yearslong process — before the November election if at all possible, according to the New York Times. On Sunday, the Times reported that “the government’s researchers are fearful of political intervention in the coming months.”
While the vaccine efforts are well ahead of what anyone could reasonably expect, the Trump administration is under fire for failing to stop the spread of the virus. Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reportedly unloaded on Birx during a meeting with top administration officials last week, calling her “the worst,” and then took those criticisms public.
"I have never been called Pollyannaish, or nonscientific, or non-data-driven," Birx said. "And I will stake my 40-year career on those fundamental principles of utilizing data to really implement better programs to save more lives."