Health secretary says “lack of personal responsibility” has prompted states to stop reopens

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar appears Monday to blame the surge in coronavirus cases in several US states on the lack of “personal responsibility” during an appearance on CBS.

Speaking to “CBS This Morning,” Azar, responding to a question about whether some US states reopened too quickly, said Americans must practice smart procedures to stop the virus from spreading, including social distancing and use. of masks, but added that the American economy needed to “get back to work.”

“We have to go back to work, school and medical care,” said Azar. “We have seen states that have reopened as much as the counties in question here and have not seen such outbreaks.”

“If we do not act responsibly, we will see the governors … withdraw from those reopens,” he continued.

Azar’s comments come as dozens of new cases of coronavirus have skyrocketed in states across the country. Some states, including Texas and Arizona, report sharp spikes that threaten to overwhelm the capacity of the intensive care unit.

The spikes in cases in the US follow weeks of efforts by numerous state leaders to reopen their economies, which have been largely closed for months due to restrictions in place to prevent the virus from spreading. Millions of Americans have filed jobless claims as companies have been forced to suspend or fire workers during the pandemic.

Azar has repeatedly insisted in interviews that the blame falls on individual Americans, not state leaders, for the increase in coronavirus cases.

“It is not about reopening or not reopening. We have many communities in states that are as reopened as these southern states but are not experiencing this, “Azar said during an interview on Sunday.

“We have to get to the bottom of why we are seeing these cases arise in this area, but in essence, we all possess as individuals our individual behavior to ensure that we are practicing appropriate social distancing and facial use covering when we cannot and practicing good personal hygiene and especially protecting our most vulnerable citizens. “