WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. authorities aren’t but seeing spikes in coronavirus instances in places which might be reopening however it was nonetheless too early to find out such traits, health secretary Alex Azar mentioned on Sunday.
“We are seeing that in places that are opening, we’re not seeing this spike in cases,” Azar mentioned on CNN’s “State of the Union” program. “We still see spikes in some areas that are, in fact, closed.”
However, Azar mentioned figuring out and reporting new instances takes time. A vital a part of reopening will likely be surveillance of flu-like signs in the inhabitants and different hospital admissions knowledge, in addition to testing of asymptomatic people, he mentioned.
“It’s still early days,” Azar cautioned in an interview with CBS’ “Face the Nation.” He mentioned knowledge will take a while to return in from states that reopened early reminiscent of Georgia and Florida.
Nearly all 50 U.S. states have begun to permit some companies to reopen and residents to maneuver extra freely, however solely 14 states have met the federal authorities’s pointers for lifting measures aimed toward preventing the pandemic, in response to a Reuters evaluation.
The high Democrat in Congress, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, mentioned it was unimaginable to know the trajectory of the virus, which has killed near 90,000 Americans, with out extra testing.
“We have no idea the size of this challenge to our country because we have not sufficiently tested,” Pelosi mentioned on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
Legislation handed by the House of Representatives on Friday would offer for the keys to a profitable reopening: testing, tracing and therapy, she mentioned. Republicans have known as the invoice lifeless on arrival in the Senate.
“We haven’t had a plan. Let’s go forward in a bipartisan way to have a plan, a plan to test,” she mentioned.
The United States has lagged far behind most different industrialized nations in coronavirus testing that public health officers deem vital to stopping additional outbreaks.
Azar put the onus on native governments to deal with reopening plans, as cooped-up Americans start to flock to bars, seashores and parks.
“These are very localized determinations. There should not be a one size fits all to reopening but reopen we must because it’s not health versus the economy. It’s health versus healthy,” he mentioned, including there have been severe health penalties to not reopening.
Asked about pictures being broadcast from some areas of the nation displaying individuals gathering close to bars and congregating shut collectively, Azar mentioned that was the price of freedom.
“I think in any individual instance you’re going to see people doing things that are irresponsible. That’s part of the freedom that we have here in America,” he mentioned on CNN.
(This story has been refiled to repair typo in first paragraph)
Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Daniel Wallis