People should not wait for a coronavirus vaccine to do the right thing, because if steps are taken now, "we go into the fall with much fewer cases," White House Coronavirus Task Force Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said Sunday.
"Yes, I'm hopeful for a vaccine," Birx said at a media event in Minnesota, reports CNN. "I'm also very convinced right now that we can stop community spread by wearing masks, socially distancing, and avoiding crowds."
She added that she hopes that when data is available and Americans see a vaccine is safe and effective, they'll get the shot.
"Right now, we gain freedom through wearing our masks and socially distancing," Birx said. "With a vaccine, it's a very different potential interaction for all of us."
She also pointed out that crowds don't just include places such as large concerts, but also include going to backyard barbecues where 25 people aren't wearing masks. She said people need to be as careful about COVID-19 when they are at home as when they are in public.
"We're doing a much better job in public, in our public mitigations," the doctor said. "We have to take those home to private and ensure we're also doing that in the household [by] protecting our grandparents and our aunts and uncles that may have comorbidities."
COVID-19 remains a "serious threat," said Birx.
"We see the numbers on the TV and in the news every single day of the number of Americans who have lost their lives to this virus," said Birx. "We don't lose that many Americans to a virus like the flu virus every year."
Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn said in an interview published in The Financial Times that the agency is willing to fast-track a COVID-19 vaccine as quickly as possible.
Hahn said the agency had been ready to authorize a vaccine before Phase 3 clinical trials were complete, as long as officials are convinced that the benefits outweigh the risks.
Sandy Fitzgerald ✉
Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.