White House: All states should interpret new COVID-19 guidelines as 'rules'

White House Coronavirus Response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said that all states should interpret White House guidelines pertaining to the coronavirus outbreak as “rules.”

During an interview Tuesday morning in "Fox & Friends,” host Steve Doocy pointed out that the day before the Trump administration talked about national guidelines that are in effect for at least the next 15 days, and he asked, “Shouldn’t there be national rules if you want to get this over with as quickly as possible?”

Birx answered, “I believe when the president takes the bold step of putting out national guidelines – you can read those as national rules.”

She noted that the national guidelines were "based on all the scientific data" and that they "will make a change on how this epidemic is spread.”

“Although it says ‘presidential guidelines for all Americans,’ take that as presidential rules for every American,” Birx said.

Birx added, “We understand that we are a United States full of governors and mayors that have independent decision-making capacity, but this is what we’re saying from the national level that will make a difference in this epidemic.”

She went on to say that if people follow the national guidelines, especially as it pertains to social distancing, it could “keep the hospitals from having to find more ICU beds, more ventilators.”

She also noted that millennials will be the core group that could stop the novel coronavirus from spreading.

“They make up a large part of our population, particularly in urban areas, where we know there will be a potentially greater spread,” she said.

“Also, they are the generation that can help the grandmothers, grandfathers, mothers and fathers to be able to stay in touch with each other virtually,” Birx continued. “They can go out and set up their grandparents with the ability to stay in touch with Facetime and other elements. I think really, they could help with the social isolation that could occur when we ask people to stay at home because they know how to innovatively stay in touch with each other without picking up the phone or being there personally.”

Birx explained that “millennials may have very mild or asymptomatic" cases but must still practice social distancing and avoid going to bars and restaurants where the disease can spread more easily.


There are 4,661 confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States with 85 reported deaths, according to data compiled by Fox News.

President Trump said on Saturday that the European travel ban was extended to include the U.K. and Ireland as part of continuing efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic. He added that he was also looking at the possibility of domestic travel restrictions.

When asked on Saturday if he was considering any domestic travel restrictions, Trump said: "Yes, specifically from certain areas, yes we are."

When Birx was asked on Tuesday if the U.S. is closer to implementing domestic travel restrictions she said, “We’re looking very carefully at the data every day and that’s why you see this escalation in guidelines from the president.”

She said the president and members of the Coronavirus Task Force are “integrating that data and understanding how the new outbreaks are occurring.”

“Is it from travel between states, within states? Is it exposure like it was described with news reporters being in an epidemic area?” she asked.

Birx added that currently it is unknown if people are contracting the virus on airplanes.


“Where we track and trace cases from, where their exposure is, that’s what becomes key,” Birx said. “Right now we know exposures are happening at the community level, and that’s why we’re being very clear and the governors and mayors are being very clear about what it will take at the community level.”

Fox News’ Adam Shaw contributed to this report.