Watch CBS News

Coronavirus Coordinator For White House 'Very Much Focused' On Massachusetts Surge

BOSTON (CBS) – White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx told CBS' Face The Nation on Sunday that she is "very much focused" on Massachusetts and specifically Boston as they see a spike of cases.

The state is in the midst of a coronavirus surge. On Saturday, Massachusetts reported 1,970 more cases and 156 additional deaths, bringing the state's total to 36,372 total cases and 1,560 deaths.

"We watch every single metro county in a very granular, granular way because you have to look at it that way," Birx told Face the Nation. "We're a series of small epidemics across the United States. We're still very much focused on Boston and across Massachusetts, where the epidemics continue to spread across Massachusetts as well as in Boston. We're watching very closely Chicago. We watch every single outbreak that occurs in different states around the United States, including the most recent one in Ohio."

Also joining Face The Nation was Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, who was asked why it was important to join a regional coalition with northeast states to focus on how to go about reopening the economy.

"Us thinking about this regionally is an important element because I don't want Massachusetts to do something that makes life incredible complicated for New York or New Jersey or New Hampshire of Vermont," said Baker. "And I certainly don't want them to do something that unwittingly creates issues and problems in Massachusetts."

When asked if he wishes there was more guidance in place for governors, Baker said the biggest thing he is interested in is advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Federal Drug Administration.

"I think generally speaking governors appreciate the fact that the feds have acknowledged the surge in is in different places in different states at different times. We're in a very different place here in Massachusetts than other states are. We're right in the middle of the surge now," said Baker.

Baker spoke about how critical the contact tracing program Massachusetts is putting into place will be. The Massachusetts governor said he believes all states should have a similar program to get in touch with people who have been diagnosed with coronavirus and those who came into close contact with them.

"I absolutely believe that in Massachusetts, for us to get back on our feet and start thinking about reopening we have got to have better knowledge and better understanding and support for people that are dealing with this virus and those they come in close contact with," said Baker. "The goal here is to push back on the virus the same way they did in South Korea to contain it, understand where it is, and control it. I think it's going to be critical for every state that wants to get open and back to something like a new normal to put some kind of mechanism like this in place."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.