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Dr. Deborah Birx on Friday became the second member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force to endorse in-person voting in November, following immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci’s lead last week.
“Well, I can tell you it has been safe for me to go to Starbucks and pick up my order,” Birx told Just The News after being asked about Americans casting ballots at polling stations.
Birx has been traveling the country by car and conducting informal research into how Americans have been practicing COVID-19 health guidelines such as wearing masks and socially distancing by visiting Starbucks coffee outlets.
She said that visits to Starbucks in states with high coronavirus positive rates have helped form her opinion about voting in person, Just The News reported.
“If you go into Starbucks in the middle of Texas and Alabama and Mississippi that have very high case rates, then I can’t say that it would be different waiting in line in the polls,” Birx said.
“I know there’s a way but you really do have to pay attention,” Birx added, noting that social distancing and wearing masks should be done while voting.
In an interview with ABC News last week, Fauci said essentially the same thing.
“I think if carefully done, according to the guidelines, there’s no reason that I can see why that not be the case,” said the long-serving director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
“If you go and wear a mask, if you observe the physical distancing, and don’t have a crowded situation, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to do that,” Fauci noted further.
Fauci’s position was a reversal from his stance in April — before a lot was known about COVID-19 — when he told CNN’s Jake Tapper that voting in person might not be safe.
“Do you think it will be safe in November for voters to physically go to vote at the polls?” Tapper asked.
“I hope so, Jake. I can’t guarantee it,” Fauci said.
“There is always the possibility, as we get into next fall and the beginning of early winter, that we could see a rebound,” he added somewhat prophetically, though some experts predicted we would have a ‘second wave’ because of lockdowns that prevented the development of herd immunity.
The claims by Birx and Fauci that Americans will be safe to vote in person using precautions run counter to those made by Democrats and Left-wing groups that are pushing for mass mail-in balloting, ostensibly to protect voters from the virus.
In her interview, Birx also discussed the coming flu season and how it might impact Americans who are still concerned about COVID-19.
“I think Americans are getting fatigued,” she said, recommending that people get a flu shot and adding that she’s focused on the fall, not the distant future.
As for treatments, Birx said work on a vaccine for the novel coronavirus was proceeding apace, and she predicted that trials would begin soon.
“Vaccines are being manufactured and that’s going well,” she said, explaining who should be first to receive them once they are available.
“Certainly, we would want to vaccinate those that we know are at the highest risk; individuals in nursing homes, those with multiple co-morbidities, having both hypertension, diabetes, and a weight issue,” she said, per Just The News. “Those are individuals independent of age that we would like to see vaccinated.”
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