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Dr. Birx warns of rising coronavirus outbreaks in rural areas

White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said Sunday that we are seeing rising virus numbers in the Midwest and rural areas of the country.

WASHINGTON — One of the top infectious disease experts in the U.S. said Sunday that we are in a new phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, as outbreaks are on the rise in rural areas.

Dr. Deborah Birx told CNN that coronavirus infections have spread further into rural areas than they had in March and April. 

"We are in a new phase...we are beginning to see an impact from the mitigation procedures that many of the state and local officials have put into place, but I want to be very clear what we're seeing today is different from March and April. It is extraordinarily widespread, it's into the rural as equal as urban areas, and to everybody that lives in a rural area, you are not immune or protected from this virus." Dr. Birx said.

Rural communities have seen coronavirus infections that have surpassed the number of cases in big cities, Axios reports

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Birx said, "No matter where you live in America, you need to wear a mask, and socially distance, do the personal hygiene pieces, but more importantly if you're in a multi-generational household and there's an outbreak in your rural area or in your city you need to really consider wearing a mask at home assuming that you're positive."

Credit: AP
White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx listens as President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference at the White House, Thursday, July 23, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

An earlier report from Castlight Health showed that rural areas saw fewer coronavirus testing sites than other areas. 

"We could see that each state needed to be tailored, so each state has a tailored set of recommendations, based on what we're seeing at the community level, what we're seeing relevant to the hospitals. And each of these responses have to be dramatically tailored," Birx said on Sunday.