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Azar: No Spike in Coronavirus in Places Reopening

Azar: No Spike in Coronavirus in Places Reopening

Sunday, 17 May 2020 09:30 AM

Authorities are not seeing spikes in coronavirus cases in places that are reopening but are seeing increases in some areas that remain closed, U.S. health secretary Alex Azar said on Sunday.

"We are seeing that in places that are opening, we're not seeing this spike in cases," Azar said on CNN's "State of the Union" program. "We still see spikes in some areas that are in fact close to very localized situations."

Azar put the onus on reopening struggles on local governments.

"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 said, adding there were serious health consequences to not reopening.

Asked about images being broadcast from some areas of the country showing people gathering near bars and congregating close together, Azar said that was the cost 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 said on CNN.

Azar said America’s diversity and its “significant unhealthy comorbidities” like diabetes and hypertension — particularly in communities of color — make the United States at particular risk for COVID-19.

The 90,000 deaths so far “could have been vastly, vastly worse,” he stressed.

“Unfortunately the American population is a very diverse,” he said. “It is a population with significant unhealthy comorbidities that do make many individuals in our communities, in particular African-American, minority communities, particularly at risk here because of significant underlying disease health disparities and disease comorbidities and that is an unfortunate legacy in our health care system that we need to address.”

He pushed back when pressed on his analysis pointing to the staggering deaths as the result of unhealthier Americans than populations around the rest of the globe.

“Please don't distort — this is about simple epidemiology and stating that if we have hypertension, if we have diabetes, we present with greater risk of severe complications from this coronavirus,” he said.

“One doesn't blame an individual for their health conditions. That would be absurd. It's simply a statement that we do have greater risk profiles here in the United States,” he said.

© 2020 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.


   
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Authorities are not seeing spikes in coronavirus cases in places that are reopening but are seeing increases in some areas that remain closed, U.S. health secretary Alex Azar said on Sunday. "We are seeing that in places that are opening, we're not seeing this spike in...
azar, reopening, no, spike, virus, cases
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2020-30-17
Sunday, 17 May 2020 09:30 AM
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