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Pence on coronavirus pandemic: Tough week ahead in America

Vice president Pence gives his daily briefing on the federal government's response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Vice president Pence gives his daily briefing on the federal government's response to the coronavirus pandemic. (Local 10 News)

Vice President Mike Pence said his heart goes out to the families of the more than 10,000 who have died in the United States of COVID-19, the highly contagious respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus. He is expecting those cases to rise sharply.

Dr. Deborah Birx, the coordinator of President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force, said she is mostly concerned about New York, Chicago and Louisiana. She said behavior change has a dramatic impact.

Dr. Deborah Birx
Dr. Deborah Birx (Local 10 News)

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he is seeing signs that the mitigation strategy is working. He also said he thinks there will be areas that won’t peak, but ultimately “the show stopper” is an effective vaccine.

“Models are good. They help us to make projections. But as you get more data in, it modifies your models,” Fauci said, adding that mitigation strategies can change the projection of having 100,000 to 240,000 dead.

Florida is preparing for the possibility of a high death rate. Miami-Dade, the county with the most cases confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Protection, has temporary hospitals in case they are needed. Mayor Carlos Gimenez said so far he hasn’t seen any signs to indicate there is spike in cases in Miami-Dade.