Aug 18, 2020 - Health

Birx: "I wish that when we went into lockdown, we looked like Italy"

Deborah Birx speaks after a White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing at the Department of Health and Human Services on June 26
Deborah Birx, the White House's coronavirus response coordinator, speaks after a June briefing in Washington, D.C. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Deborah Birx, the White House's coronavirus response coordinator, told reporters Monday she would have liked to have seen the U.S. introduce stricter restrictions like Italy did to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

What she's saying: "I wish that when we went into lockdown, we looked like Italy," she said. "When Italy locked down, I mean, people weren't allowed out of their houses, they couldn't come out but once every two weeks to buy groceries for one hour and they had to have a certificate that said they were allowed. Americans don't react well to that kind of prohibition."

By the numbers: More than 170,000 people have died from the novel coronavirus in the U.S. and over 5.4 million have tested positive, according to Johns Hopkins.

  • In Italy, more than 35,400 people have died from the virus and over 254,200 people have tested positive.

The big picture: In the U.S., states imposed restrictions including stay-at-home orders in response to the pandemic earlier this year. The severity of restrictions varied. Meanwhile, Italy was the first European country to launch a nationwide lockdown in March.

  • In May, the country began to ease domestic travel restrictions and shops, restaurants and hairdressers resumed business with social distancing measures in place. It has since seen a resurgence of the virus after reopening its borders to other countries.
  • On Sunday, Italy closed nightclubs made wearing face coverings mandatory from 6pm to 6am after confirming 600 new infections on Saturday, and nearly 800 more on Sunday, per AP.
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