The Assistant Secretary of Health has spoken on NBC’s ‘Today’ show and warned that local governments may have to enforce ‘draconian measures’ to stop the spread of coronavirus. While many American citizens are following government guidelines there are many who are refusing to take any safety measures seriously, with claims that some of the rules are an infringement of their rights. However, Brett Giroir claims that unless everyone falls into line and works towards stopping the spread then stricter measures will have to be enforced.
“We still can control this by wearing masks, social distancing and being careful around the holidays. But if we don’t do those things, it may force local officials or government officials in the states to have more draconian measures because cases will go up if we don’t make a change.” Giroir’s comments came as America saw numbers of confirmed coronavirus cases continue to increase, with many states seeing their rates increasing at the highest rate since the beginning of the outbreak. The comments also go against President Donald Trump continuing to claim the numbers are increasing due to more testing. “Yes, we’re getting more cases identified, but the cases are actually going up, and we know that too because hospitalizations are going up. Now, the (daily) peak was in the 70,000s in July, we’re at about 42, 43,000 now, so we’re much less in July. But those are going up, those are real. And we do know that deaths are increasing, unfortunately,” said Giroir.
However according to analysis from NBC News, the number of new confirmed cases has overtaken the numbers in July. Last week saw around 74,000 cases confirmed in a 24 hour period while countrywide the average number of cases per day has levelled at 71,000 in the last week, the highest numbers in a seven day period since the beginning of the pandemic.
President Trump has been criticized both at home and abroad over his response to the pandemic, and Giroir’s words – just days before Election Day – will not have helped his campaign. Especially with Nebraska and Wisconsin becoming the current ‘covid-19 central’ with high numbers of cases in areas that Trump has been seen campaigning in. Trump has also continued to minimize the devastating effect the virus is having on the country, even though both himself and the first lady Melania Trump – along with the son Barron – contracted the virus recently.
Talking at a rally in Michigan on Tuesday Trump told a crowd – who were mostly not wearing masks, “Covid, covid, covid, covid, covid, covid cases. Do you ever notice they use the word ‘cases’? Like Barron Trump has a case, sniffles, one Kleenex and he was better.” Trump has also been announcing that America is “rounding the turn” on the pandemic, despite there is no evidence to back his statements.
However the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy has continued to declare the successful ‘defeat’ of coronavirus as one of the biggest ‘accomplishments from the first term’. The policy states that, “From the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Administration has taken decisive actions to engage scientists and health professionals in academia, industry and government to understand, treat and defeat the disease.”
Meanwhile the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) has denounced the current government’s handling of the health crisis as ‘backward’ stating, “He doesn’t understand that in order to fix the economy, first you have to control the virus. And to control the virus, you have to protect workers so that you don’t continue to spread the virus and continue to have hot spots. He thinks, if you open the economy, everything will go away and be great for everyone.”
Many have disagreed with the way that Trump has been dealing with the virus with many believing that his refusal to listen to the experts advice alongside promoting not just unproven but potentially dangerous cures has helped the virus to spread faster and further than necessary. He has also been accused of making the wearing of face masks political as he continued to refuse to wear them in public until recently.
Giroir continued to say, “We’re going to try to give the American people the best evidence possible. And what I want to emphasize is that we will have a vaccine. We will have a safe and effective vaccine. It may be this month, it may be next month, it may be in December, this will not go on forever.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci has also backed up some of his points in a recent interview with Diane Rehm’s “On My Mind’ podcast saying, “We’ve had 80-plus thousand infections the other day, and we’re averaging between, on a seven-day basis, over 60,000 infections. And if you look at the map of the country, of the counties, states and cities in which you have an increase in test positivity, that more than 30 of those states are going in the wrong direction.”