The chief of the Centers for Disease Control warned that there could be a second wave of coronavirus that is much worse than the first, but Dr. Deborah Birx shot down the possibility when questioned by reporters Tuesday.
The alarming warning from CDC Director Robert Redfield was made in an interview with the Washington Post.
"There's a possibility that the assault of the virus on our nation next winter will actually be even more difficult than the one we just went through," said Redfield.
"And when I've said this to others, they kind of put their head back, they don't understand what I mean," he explained. "We're going to have the flu epidemic and the coronavirus epidemic at the same time."
When Birx, the coronavirus task force response coordinator, was asked to address the concerns by Fox News' Bret Baier, she appeared to downplay the possibility and cited expected advancements in treatment that would prevent a second wave worse than the first.
"We were very clear in the guidelines that we believe we can monitor, again, monitor communities at the community level by using the influenza-like illness, and the syndromic, respiratory, and gastrointestinal components of this particular virus," she explained.
"Obviously when we have flu, we're going to, and we're working on an algorithm, that you test for flu, then you test for COVID, and making sure that we are building the testing capacity to be able to do that," she said. "On the surface, a patient when they come in with early flu and early COVID can look very close to identical, so we need to have testing in place to be able to separate and ensure those patients receive the best treatment."
Birx also said that she expected to have additional treatment options for COVID-19 patients at that time.
A second wave
When pressed by another reporter, Birx furrowed her brow and didn't appear to agree with the assessment from the CDC.
"I don't know if it will be worse; I think this has been pretty bad," she responded.
"When you see what happened in New York, that was very bad," she continued. "I believe that we'll have early warning signals both from our surveillance that we've been talking about in these vulnerable populations. We're going to continue that surveillance from now all the way through to be able to give us that early warning signal."
Birx went on to praise Americans' ability to do what they need to in order to protect themselves and their families in the face of the threat from the pandemic.
Here's the entire task force media briefing:
Trump and Coronavirus Task Force Hold White House Briefing www.youtube.com