White House COVID-19 Task Force Coordinator Dr. Birx meets with Mississippi leaders

White House COVID-19 Task Force Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx meets with Mississippi leaders

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx spent about an hour-and-a-half meeting with Mississippi political, medical and business leaders at the Governor’s Mansion Wednesday.

“To sit there and listen to somebody first hand and who has the first-hand information about this virus and how it affects it was phenomenal,” said Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs.

“It’s one thing to see the statistics and know the numbers and all of those things that we look at,” noted UMMC Vice Chancellor and Dean of the School of Medicine Dr. LouAnn Woodward. “There are important data points but when you visit a place and see the people and talk to the people, I think that that makes a real difference. She gave us some very good sense of where we are with the vaccine. Because, you know, as we manage through this process, really everybody is wondering, ‘OK what can we do next? How can we treat this? How can we prevent it?’”

Governor Reeves has received updates on calls with Dr. Birx and other governors throughout the crisis. But says he had new takeaways today.

“There appears to be a growing consensus around lots of spread happening at bars,” said Reeves. “So, that is the topic that we are currently considering. Conversation is going something like this: Should bars statewide be closed? Should bars in those 13 counties be closed? Or exactly what does that look like?”

Dr. Thomas Dobbs was pleased to hear her perspective on several different issues they’ve been following closely.

“How asymptomatic spread is such a big component of what is going on,” noted Dobbs. “So, part of that as we’ve gotten assume everyone’s got it. We can’t let symptoms be the way that we sort of cull out our social gathering.”

And both Reeves and Dobbs note there are a few counties the White House is particularly focused in on based on recent numbers.

“The counties that she mentioned are the ones… De Soto, Jackson Metro, Harrison but also Forest County I really on their radar,” explained Dobbs.

All of those aside from Forrest County have new restrictions and they too could soon be added to that list.

Dr. Dobbs says Dr. Birx told the group there are plans for more investment in Mississippi, particularly for more testing in long term care facilities.

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