HHS Secretary: ‘The window is closing’ to stop the spread of the coronavirus

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar said Sunday that “the window is closing” to stop the spread of the coronavirus, as cases in the south and west increase.

Azar said the country is in a different situation than at the last peak of the epidemic a few months ago, Noting new therapies and advances in COVID-19 vaccine research, but added that “The window is closing.”

“We have to act, and people as individuals have to act responsibly. We need social distance. We need to wear our face covers if we are in environments where we cannot social distance, particularly in these hot spots, “Azar said on NBC’s” Meet the Press. ”

Azar also rejected the idea that the increase in cases is linked to the reopening of states and the lifting of established restrictions to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

“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, “said Azar. “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. “

CNN’s Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperTrump refers to the coronavirus again as ‘kung flu’. Atlanta Mayor calls Trump rally a ‘shame’: ‘Absolutely what the nation doesn’t need right now’ Navarro says the coronavirus ‘was a product of the Chinese Communist Party’ MORE Azar asked about “State of the Union” if he thinks President TrumpDonald John Trump Four men accused of trying to tear down Andrew Jackson statue in DC Video shows retired workers signs of social estrangement ahead of Trump Tulsa rally: WaPo Biden criticizes Trump for failing to sanction Russia for the intelligence of the “rewards” of Afghan militants MORE It is undermining the administration’s message for Americans to wear masks by refusing to wear a mask and holding campaign rallies where crowds are not social distancing.

“I am the president’s health secretary and I tell people what President Trump has said since the first day of the guidelines,” Azar replied.

Pressed by Tapper, Azar said Trump and Vice President Pence are in “a very unique situation” as they are regularly tested for the coronavirus.

Last week, more than a dozen US states saw their worst day of coronavirus cases and deaths, and daily infections topped 40,000 for the first time in more than a month on Friday.