Dr. Birx: masks may have to be worn indoors, URI considers curfew

Dr. Deborah Birx, Response Coordinator of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, talks with reporters at the University of Rhode Island Kingston campus October 8, 2020 following a roundtable discussion with state and university officials. Photo by Steve Klamkin WPRO News

By Steve Klamkin, WPRO News

The woman helping to lead the nation’s fight against coronavirus was in Rhode Island Thursday, talking up what must be done to keep the virus in check, while the University of Rhode Island is considering a possible curfew prevent its spread.

Dr. Deborah Birx warned that face coverings may have to be worn indoors in the coming months to stem the spread of the virus.

“What we wanted to carry for a message across the Northeast is that what you are doing in public is great, but we have to figure out how to bring that safety into the household and into any groups we bring into the household,” said Dr. Birx, White House Coronavirus Task Force Response Coordinator.

“As work places, as public areas have retail groups have really created safe spaces, where we’re seeing the spread occur now is in private spaces, where we feel comfortable. Where we take off our masks and we invite in our neighbors and friends. That’s what’s resulting in now community spread,” she said.

She met privately at the University of Rhode Island Kingston campus with Governor Gina Raimondo, state health officials and with students.

University President David Dooley said URI may consider imposing a curfew on campus, if cases start to spike. He said the university has the capacity at present to isolate infected members of the school community. He said all 16,000 students, faculty and staff would be tested for the coronavirus in the coming days.