The secretary of health of the United States, Alex Azar, warned that “the window is closing” on the possibility of the country to take measures to effectively curb the coronavirus, since the number of confirmed cases exceeded 2.5 million.
The Secretary of Health and Human Services noted a recent increase in infections, particularly in the south, and said that people have to “act responsibly” through social distancing and the use of face masks, especially “in these hot areas” .
For the third day in a row on Saturday, the number of confirmed cases in the US increased by more than 40,000. In Arizona, cases have increased 267% so far in June and rose by a record 3,857 cases on Sunday, the eighth record increase this month. Overall, deaths in the US from Covid-19 have exceeded 125,000 with more than 2.5 million confirmed cases, according to the Johns Hopkins University compilation, far more than any other country in the world.
The new surge in Covid-19 cases has been most pronounced in a handful of southern and western states that reopened earlier and more aggressively, with the support of the Trump administration, despite warnings from officials at health to expect to see a steady decline in cases. Texas and Florida were among the states that reversed course in parts of their reopening plans last week as cases continue to escalate.
Appearing on NBC’s Meet the Press show Sunday morning, host Chuck Todd asked Azar why the United States was not addressing the Covid-19 crisis, especially when so many other countries appear to be succeeding.
Azar acknowledged that the United States was “seeing a sudden increase in cases” and that the majority of them are among people under the age of 35, which means that “a large number of them” will be asymptomatic, presenting a different challenge for women. authorities trying to control it. in buds.
“This is a very serious situation,” said Azar, adding that “the window is closing” to stop the virus from spreading. “We have to act, and people as individuals have to act responsibly. We need social distance, we need to use our facial covers ”.
Azar argued that the United States is in a better position than two months ago to fight the virus because it is conducting more tests and has therapies available to treat Covid-19. But he acknowledged that hospitalizations and deaths could increase in the coming weeks, because it is a lagging indicator.
The Trump administration has long been criticized for its response to the coronavirus crisis, and the president has frequently disagreed with public health officials about the best course of action to curb the spread.
New York state, which was the center of the U.S. outbreak during April and May, and enacted strict home stay measures, reported its lowest number of deaths from Covid-19 on Sunday.
Five people died of the coronavirus in the state on Saturday, a toll that Governor Andrew Cuomo called “the lowest number we’ve had since this started.” During the peak of the pandemic in April, almost 800 people died each day from coronaviruses.
“We are exactly on the opposite extreme,” from states like Texas, Florida and Arizona, Cuomo said in an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press. However, the governor warned that the numbers could increase again if New Yorkers let their guard down and did not follow the requirements of social distancing and wearing masks.
“Now I am afraid of the spread from other states because we are one country and people travel,” Cuomo said. “I’m afraid the infection rate in the other states will go back to New York and raise that rate again.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday that it was “long overdue” for masks to be required across the country, but that Donald Trump’s opposition had played a role in blocking that passage.
“And I understand that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has recommended the use of masks, but not demand it, they demanded it, because they do not want to offend the president,” he said on ABC ‘This Week’.
“And the president should be an example. You know, real men wear masks. Be an example to the country and wear the mask … it’s not about protecting yourself. It’s about protecting others and their families. “
Azar said Trump does not have to follow his own administration’s guidance because, as president, he is regularly evaluated and finds himself in “very different circumstances than the rest of us.”
Washington Democratic Governor Jay Inslee told CBS that Trump should spend more time tweeting about wearing masks rather than defending monuments to Confederate generals. “We need a president who cares more about living Americans and less about dead Confederates,” he said.