Doctor Deborah Birx, the response coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force, is encouraging leaders in every state and metro area to prepare for a coronavirus outbreak like the one currently taking place in New York.
"No state, no metro area will be spared," Dr. Birx told NBC's Chuck Todd during an interview on "Meet the Press" on Sunday, "and the sooner we react and the sooner the states and the metro areas react and ensure 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."
"If they mitigate now before they start seeing cases in the emergency room and in the hospital," Dr. Birx continued, "once you see those, the virus has been spreading for days and weeks, so this is really my call on every mayor to prepare now."
The NBC host asked Dr. Birx if she thought domestic air travel should be restricted as a further measure to contain the outbreak of the Wuhan coronavirus. Dr. Birx said she was heartened to see communities practicing self-isolation and self-quarantining without any restrictions on domestic air travel imposed by the federal government.
"The amount of air travel in and out of New York we believe is down by 90 percent, Metro down by more than 90 percent, so people are using common sense to protect others," Dr. Birx said.
"We also have to be able to move doctors and nurses around the United States," Dr. Birx added. "They're part of our surge capacity. You can see many have come forward as volunteers, and we need to be able to get them places."
Dr. Birx said she will be making a recommendation to the president on whether or not the guidelines for a nationwide lockdown should be extended as the Wuhan coronavirus continues to ravage parts of the United States.
"My job today is to put all the data together, the integrated data of testing, case reporting, the global situation, and prepare the best briefing I can for the president and the vice president so they have all the data to make the decision that is best for the American people," she explained.
When Chuck Todd asked Dr. Birx to share her recommendation with his audience, Dr. Birx said, "I'm going to share it with the president and the vice president first."