‘Now is not the time to let up:’ White House encourages Louisianans to think ahead during Labor Day weekend

Dr. Deborah Birx spoke with WAFB Channel 9 ahead of the Labor Day weekend to address concerns...
Dr. Deborah Birx spoke with WAFB Channel 9 ahead of the Labor Day weekend to address concerns the state could see another spike in coronavirus cases after the holiday weekend.(wafb)
Updated: Sep. 5, 2020 at 10:58 AM CDT
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(WAFB) - One of the faces and leading authorities in America’s fight against coronavirus is reminding Louisianans a day off from work does not mean a day off from mitigation efforts.

Dr. Deborah Birx appeared in televised interviews across Louisiana Friday, Sept. 4. to remind state residents a weekend of fun isn’t worth backsliding the state into a surge of COVID cases.

“Really this weekend is critical. Much progress has been made in Louisiana, and it can continue, but it’s on each and every one of us,” said Birx. “I know that people understand, but community spread leads to community increase in hospitalizations as you’ve all experienced in Louisiana. And that leads to people dying that are our loved ones. We know how to prevent that and we’re asking everyone to follow those behaviors over Labor Day while the scientists work every day to get us closer and closer to a vaccine.”

Birx, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator explains holiday gatherings like backyard parties present the opportunity to pool infected people together, especially those who are asymptomatic.

“I know, people we know we think couldn’t possibly have COVID. But, the people we know have been exposed and potentially have COVID,” said Birx. “And, so, we really have to ensure that we stay six feet apart and we socially distance even with your family and your friends.”

Getting too comfortable set the state back in May, Birx explained.

“After Memorial Day what happened was there was silent spread throughout Louisiana with most people not knowing that they were COVID positive and spreading the virus continually through that two-to-three week period,” said Birx. “By the time people started going to emergency rooms every parish in Louisiana was over ten percent test positivity except for one or two.”

Still, in the midst of a pandemic and hurricane recovery, Birx says the potential for the state to advance its comeback story towards a lower case count looks good.

“I look at the way you rally,” said Birx. “I see your progress. Now is not the time to let up.”

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