The intensive care unit and lung doctor, Dr. Vin Gupta, criticized the Republican governors of Arizona, Florida and Texas for what he said were premature reopens, especially as new variants are imposed across the country.
“It is not good public policy what the governors of Arizona, Florida and Texas are doing,” Gupta said. “It just doesn’t make sense from a scientific point of view … There is a deep concern here, especially in these populous states with generally larger populations living in these states, that the variants are already taking hold there.”
The United States reports 58,618 new cases of Covid daily on average, 6.7% more than last week, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. It is the highest weekly increase since mid-January. The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, issued a stern warning on Friday.
“I remain deeply concerned about this trajectory,” Walensky said. “We have seen cases and hospital admissions go from historic declines, stagnation and increases. And we know from previous waves that if we don’t get things under control now, there is real potential for the epidemic curve to skyrocket again.”
Gupta, a medical contributor to NBC, warned that early reopens could even spawn new vaccine-resistant Covid variants.
“We’re going to give rise to a variant that can escape whatever immunity the vaccine imparts … that’s the big concern here,” Gupta said on CNBC’s “The News with Shepard Smith.”
“That’s why we really need governors to be vigilant, to preach vigilance, to have consistent public policy across all 50 states for the next several months until everyone receives a vaccine,” he said. “That is going to be the linchpin here, otherwise we may not have normalcy on July 4.”
Gupta said the United States is in a “race against time” to vaccinate as many people as possible.
The White House on Friday announced a record 3.4 million vaccines administered nationwide. That number could grow as Johnson & Johnson prepares to administer 11 million doses of its single-shot vaccine next week.
Representatives for the governors of Arizona, Texas and Florida were not immediately available for comment.