‘We have to act’: HHS Secretary Azar warns to ‘close the window’ to stop the coronavirus spike

Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar wears a face mask while attending a press conference on coronavirus testing in the Rose Garden of the White House on May 11, 2020 in Washington, DC.

Drew Angerer | fake pictures

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar warned Sunday that time was running out for the United States to curb the spread of the coronavirus as cases increased across the country, particularly in the southern and western United States. .

“We have the tools to do this,” Azar told NBC’s Meet The Press. “But the window is closing, we have to act, and people as individuals have to act responsibly. We need social distance, we have to use our facial covers where we cannot social distance, particularly in these hot spots.”

Azar’s warning comes when President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence claim that the country has “flattened the curve” and that the new cases can be attributed to increased evidence capacity. However, former CDC chief Tom Frieden told Fox News on Sunday that the increase is attributable to community broadcasting in states that reopened too quickly.

“As a doctor, scientist, epidemiologist, I can tell you with 100% certainty that in most states where you are seeing an increase, it is a real increase,” Frieden said. “It is not more tests, it is more spread of the virus.”

The United States has seen several consecutive days of record spikes in cases after several states quickly lifted blockade restrictions to reopen their economies.

The United States reported 45,255 additional coronavirus cases on Friday, a record number of new daily cases that brought the total number of cases to more than 2.5 million nationwide. The worst affected states include Texas, Arizona, Florida, California and Nevada.

As of Friday, the seven-day average of new cases in the US increased more than 41% compared to last week.

The country is in a stronger position to fight the virus than during the start of the outbreak, according to Azar, who noted increased testing capacity, treatments, pinpointing, provision of personal protective equipment and hospital capacity.

Azar said the number of hospitalizations and deaths could increase in the coming weeks. COVID-19 deaths generally lag behind other data points, such as hospitalizations and infections.

Azar, in an interview with CNN’s State of the Union, denied that prematurely reopening states were linked to the increase in cases and instead blamed “inappropriate individual behavior” that the virus has spread.

“It’s not so much about what the law says about reopening as what our behaviors are within that,” Azar said.