Deborah Birx, a leading member of the Trump administration’s White House coronavirus task force, said on Sunday the U.S. should be prepared for another potential COVID-19 surge after a recent uptick in infections in South Africa.
“They’re on an upslope again,” Birx said of South Africa’s infections on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
“Each of these surges are about four to six months apart. That tells me that natural immunity wanes enough in the general population after four to six months that a significant surge is going to occur again. And this is what we have to be prepared for in this country,” she added.
Birx specifically warned Americans should be “preparing right now for a potential surge in this summer across the southern United States.”
Birx has been criticized for not speaking out more against former President Trump’s false statements about the coronavirus during her time at the White House.
In her new book, she discusses her internal efforts to push back as well as her initial meeting with Trump, which she said lasted for 30 second before he flipped on Fox News.
Her remarks come after South Africa saw a major uptick in infections after the highly contagious omicron variant was first detected there late last year.
More recently, South Africa has seen more than 31,000 COVID-19 cases in the past week, which is still significantly lower than the over 140,000 cases reported at the height of the omicron surge in December, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.
The country saw roughly 5,700 new daily cases on Saturday, significantly more than figures of around 1,400 daily cases from earlier last month.