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Dr. Birx warns of "silent" coronavirus spread in the Northeast

11.10.20, 05:11

There are ominous new signs the United States is on the verge of another strong wave of the coronavirus. More than 57,000 new cases were reported across the country on Friday, adding to the more than 7.6 million known infections nationwide. More than 213,000 people in the U.S. have died due to the virus.

Health professionals are preparing for – and warning about – the worst.

Dr. Deborah Birx of the White House coronavirus task force toured the Northeast this week and warned of a surge, CBS News' Michael George reports.

"We do see some of those early signs that we saw across the South after Memorial Day, a sense that there's early, asymptomatic silent spread," Birx said. 

"It's happening in homes and social occasions and people gathering and taking their masks off."

In New York City, volunteers could be seen this week on street corners handing out masks in a bid to help control public health.

"I've been seeing a lot of people without masks, so they see us and they're grabbing it," volunteer Myra Johnson said.

However, not everyone in the area agrees with COVID-19 measures. Members of New York's Orthodox Jewish community took to the streets this week, gathering in large groups while some could be seen in Brooklyn burning face masks. 

The community filed a lawsuit against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for closing houses of worship in order to slow the virus' spread. A federal judge sided with the governor Friday. 

While city Mayor Bill de Blasio condemned the protests, the state is tightening restrictions in places where the virus is spreading. That has impacted Broadway — a New York City cultural icon.

"It certainly is possible that many shows will not be able to come back," Broadway League President Charlotte St. Martin said.

The group announced Friday that the shutdown of New York City's big theaters will extend until May 2021. Some 97,000 workers are put on hold by the industry pause. 

Oboist Keve Wilson, who is part of the musical ensemble of the show "Company," said she feels like they're in a "holding pattern."

"We do have to make some choices," Wilson said. "I talked to a musician yesterday who said she's going to go back to school for accounting, to try to have a new career."

The Broadway shutdown means New York City won't be fully back to normal for at least another eight months. 

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