IN Focus: Pence, Birx discuss Indiana’s increasing COVID-19 spread


INDIANAPOLIS- Just days after his visit to Indiana, multiple members of Vice President Mike Pence’s team have tested positive for COVID-19, as the state and nation continue to see dramatic daily increases of new positive cases.

Pence will continue to campaign, even after chief of staff Marc Short and political advisor Marty Obst tested positive. Pence and his wife were here in Indianapolis to vote early on Friday, and both reportedly tested negative for COVID-19 on Sunday morning.

After a campaign event Thursday in Fort Wayne in which the VP shared the stage with Gov. Eric Holcomb, the vice president spoke about the state’s fight against COVID-19 in an exclusive interview with our Ft. Wayne affiliate, WANE-TV.

“We’re just going to continue to make sure, as we see some cases rising across the heartland that, as the governor and I discussed, that our hospitals and doctors have all the supplies they need, that our schools have all the testing they need to keep kids in the classroom,” said Pence.

That same day, Dr. Deborah Birx from the White House coronavirus task force came to Indiana to meet with state health officials, and afterwards, Birx spoke with FOX59 about the fight against COVID-19.

“We are all together as a country anxiously awaiting any evidence of efficacy and safety in (the ongoing vaccine trials) so that people know how long and for how much longer are we going to ask people to make these personal sacrifices,” said Birx. “We really need to make those personal sacrifices now in a place like Indiana we see really quite significant spread across every county in Indiana.”

Birx acknowledged a clearer national message may be needed, amidst conflicting opinions that have at times emerged among members of the task force, though she was careful to avoid any direct criticism of the President himself.

Her message largely focused on what average Americans can do to fight the spread.

“We see it spreading within families and within small social gatherings where people have let their guard down and taken their mask off and they’ve just been with their friends and family and that has really resulted in really ever-increasing spread,” warned Birx. “I think in this moment, when we can see these cases rising, we have to change our behaviors along with preventing these new cases. You’ve seen the numbers, increased test positivity, increased cases, increased hospitalizations, increased fatalities. We have the ability to change that now, and we will as a community of Americans.”

The ongoing pandemic was also a topic of discussion at last week’s Presidential debate and at the first debate between Gov. Holcomb and his opponents in the race for governor, Dr. Woody Myers and libertarian candidate Donald Rainwater.

As Indiana continues to see record-breaking case increases, Holcomb and his opponents will hold another televised debate on Tuesday, which marks exactly one week until the November election.

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