White House Coronavirus Task Force coordinator, Dr. Deborah Birx said on Wednesday that Philadelphia could be one of the next COVID-19 “hot spots” in the country.
During an interview on Good Morning America, Birx said that based on data compiled for large metropolitan áreas, Philadelphia and other two major cities could display a huge increase in coronavirus cases.
“We are concerned about the metro area of Washington and Baltimore,” Birx said. “And we are concerned right now about the Philadelphia area.”
Hot spots are locations, with the highest number of coronavirus cases per resident. New York and New Jersey currently are considered the top hot spots in the United States.
But, according to the coordinator, there is a growing tendency which shows that the virus may be declining in these areas. New York City may be hitting its plateau as the number of hospitalizations drop.
Some experts, however, narrow their focus on what could be emerging hot spots, and Philadelphia is among them.
Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley expressed a contrasting opinion about the coronavirus situation in the city. “Philadelphia, like other large cities in the Northeast, has been hit hard by the epidemic, with New York City clearly being the epicenter of the epidemic,” Farley said. “I doubt (Dr. Birx is) looking at numbers as updated as we are. I’m glad she’s concerned about Philadelphia, but at the moment, things are looking a little bit better.”
As of Wednesday afternoon, there are 4,777 confirmed cases in Philadelphia. A total of 78 people have died.
Nate Wardle, a spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Department of Health referred to the capacity of the city to attend COVID-19 patients. “At this time our hospital ICU beds have approximately 41% availability and ventilator availability is over 70%.” Wardle, also pointed out the proximity of Philadelphia to the other hot spots areas. “I think there is a level of concern in regard to the proximity to New York and New Jersey.”