Dr. Deborah Birx visits Virginia Tech, praises University for COVID-19 research

Published: Sep. 17, 2020 at 5:38 AM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - For the last several months, Dr. Deborah Birx has shared a podium with President Trump.

Wednesday, however, she was solo as she made her way to Virginia Tech: her 12th university visit in the last few weeks. Wednesday morning she met with President Tim Sands, then participated in a roundtable discussion, with university leadership and students.

“We always have additional work that we would like universities to do, but I think the university has done an excellent job in testing both the symptomatic, contact tracing, testing and quarantining," said Birx, a physician ambassador. Birx is a medical expert in the HIV/Aids field, but was appointed to the White House Coronavirus task force.

The last time Dr. Birx was in the Commonwealth, her focus was on vacation spots, specifically Virginia Beach and the Hampton Roads area.

That focus has shifted slightly, even though she says Virginia continues to be a state that’s monitored closely.

“Beginning in March we really called on research institutions to turn on their research equipment to bring additional testing to the United States,” said Birx.

Virginia Tech is now spending time on wastewater research to help identify the asymptomatic spread.

Birx also spoke on how droplet testing plays a role in the importance of mask wearing and physical distancing.

She maintains that college campuses should remain open, and that the country can benefit from them as a whole.

“There’s only a handful of institutions that have done this, and I really want to applaud Virginia Tech," said Birx.

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