Washington Vice President Mike Pence attributed the increase in coronavirus cases in more than a dozen states in part to young people who do not follow the patterns of social distancing.
“What is happening here is a combination of augmented evidence: We can evaluate much more Americans than we could several months ago, but it may also be an indication that as we are opening up our economy, that younger Americans have been rallying in ways that may have ignored the guidance we gave at the federal level for all phases of reopening, “Pence said in” Face the Nation “Sunday.
All 50 states gradually reopened their economies after governors ordered the closure of nonessential businesses and residents to remain in their homes until March and April. But some southern and western states, such as Texas and Florida, are now experiencing a record increase in coronavirus infections.
Pence was scheduled to attend campaign events in Arizona and Florida this week, but the events were postponed “as a precaution,” the Trump campaign said.
The vice president said the latest increase in coronavirus cases differs from what the country experienced at the beginning of the pandemic, when hospitals in New York City were overwhelmed with patients and governors were quick to secure ventilators for patients. admitted with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.
“One of the things we’ve heard in Texas and Florida in particular is that almost half of those who test positive are Americans under the age of 35,” Pence said. “That is contributing to the fact that those requiring hospitalization, who are testing positive for coronavirus, are significantly lower than they were two months ago.”
It is “indisputable,” he added, that the increase in evidence “has played a role in the new cases, particularly among younger Americans.”
As the coronavirus began to spread rapidly across the country in March, the White House issued a guide to Americans to stop its spread, urging them to work from home and limit social gatherings to fewer than 10 people. But the White House allowed those guidelines to expire in late April, and the Trump administration later shifted its focus toward a safe reopening of the economy, which was effectively halted due to the pandemic.
Now, with cases on the rise in some states, governors have begun issuing new restrictions to mitigate the spread of the virus again. Texas stopped its gradual reopening last week, and Florida banned all bars from serving alcohol as it saw ain new cases
Pence said the Trump administration supports the decisions of the governors of those states to stop its reopening to curb the number of new infections.
“It is clear throughout the Sunbelt that something is happening, particularly among younger Americans,” he said. “And that is why we fully support Governor Abbott’s decision to close bars and limit restaurants. We fully support the steps taken in Florida and elsewhere. And we will continue to support those efforts.”
Pence said the administration also believes that people should wear masks in cases where they cannot socially distance themselves from others, but said mandates on mask use should come from state and local officials.
“President Trump and I, after asking the American people to embrace 45 days to stop the spread, we issued guidelines to reopen the United States,” he said. “And since that day almost two months ago, we’ve made it clear that we want to defer to governors. We want to defer to local officials, and people should listen to them.”
In the United States, there have been more than 2.5 million confirmed cases of coronavirus and more than 125,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.