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Dr. Deborah Birx says now is the time to act in Indiana to control COVID-19 spread

Posted at 6:38 PM, Nov 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-12 18:41:12-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Dr. Deborah Birx, one of the top doctors part of the White House Coronavirus Taskforce, says now is the time to act in Indiana as COVID-19 cases rise.

As temperatures started to fall, Birx says the northern part of the country, including Indiana, started to see a rise in positive COVID-19 cases, infections, and now hospitalizations.

On Thursday, the state shattered its previous record and reported more than 6,600 new positive COVID-19 cases.

Flattening the curve and rising cases in Indiana
"Now is really the moment to act across Indiana, right now, so that we can really flatten that curve together," Birx said in an exclusive interview in Indiana with WRTV.

Governors in southern states during a surge that put took aggressive actions, like putting a mask mandate in place, restricting indoor dining, and closed bars, were effective at flattening the curve, Birx said.

She says the United Kingdom looks like it's starting to flatten its curve by closing bars, restaurants and putting in a mask mandate, but were able to keep essential businesses and schools open.

"So we're tracking them very closely because they were able to flatten their curve and keep their schools open," Birx said.

Thanksgiving safety
Because of how rapidly the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths are rising, Birx is encouraging people not to gather outside of the immediate household, even for Thanksgiving.

"Because what happens when were indoors and we take our masks off, it creates small spreading events, household by household, community by community, that's going to result in our community spread," Birx said. "Because we have a vaccine coming, because that light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter by the moment, now is the time for each and every one of us to really protect the ones that we love and we're thankful for for Thanksgiving by not gathering as a group, and taking our mask off and taking the risk when were this close to getting our vulnerable family members immunized, exposing them to virus unnecessarily."

Therapeutics and vaccines
She addressed companies look for a solution to the COVID-19 crisis, like Moderna, Pfizer, and Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Company.

Remdesivir, an antiviral, and monoclonal antibodies are available to help COVID-19 patients.

Monoclonal antibodies are essentially able to give someone with COVID-19 what it would take their body 10 to 14 days to generate, Birx said.

"So both the antivirals and the monoclonal antibodies are most effective early," Birx said. "So to everybody in the state of Indiana, you need to be tested early. So make sure you're getting tested if you have been exposed, you have vulnerable conditions, make sure you that have access and know where to find out how to get a test, be in contact with your local doctor."

MORE INFO | COVID-19 testing in Indiana

Vaccines are important to help protect people most exposed, like healthcare workers, and those most vulnerable.

Once the general public is vaccinated, it will help create herd immunity in the country.

"That will allow us to have those birthday parties, those weddings, those Thanksgivings, those July the Fourths, we can have those next year," Birx said. "The important thing is to make those personal sacrifices now so that our loved ones are there to get vaccinated in the new year, in December, and into the new year."

STATE VACCINE PLAN | Who will be first in the state when COVID-19 vaccines are available?