Health and Human Services assistant secretary ADM Brett P. Giroir, M.D., said Wednesday on MSNBC that the country faces an “absolutely dangerous situation” from the coronavirus pandemic in the next few months until a vaccine is available.
Giroir said, “Right now we’re in the steepest number of rise of cases, hospitalizations are going up 25% week over week. Our deaths are going up 25% week over week. And this is not going in the right direction. We are at an absolutely critical, dangerous point. I want to urge everyone that the only way that we get out of this until we have a vaccine is to absolutely wear a mask when you’re in public. We know that local or state mask mandates tend to work, and many places have instituted that. In most places, we are going to have to limit indoor dining and indoor bars. That doesn’t mean take-out needs to be limited. Many people want their Thanksgiving dinner by take-out, that’s fantastic. We’ll have to limit those kinds of things like they are during in Europe.”
He continued, “Right now, we’re in an absolutely dangerous situation that we have to take with the utmost seriousness. This is not crying wolf. This is the worst rate of rise in cases that we’ve seen in the pandemic in the United States, and right now, there’s no sign of flattening. We all have to be incredible concerned, we all have to be diligent, we have to make clear choices to wear our masks, physically distance, and try to make a better choice every day about how you’ll gather, where you’ll gather, and how to protect the vulnerable.”
Giroir added, “I lose sleep at night over where we are in the pandemic right now. But we all also know how to beat this, right? There’s a playbook that we’ve done here. The public health professionals on the Biden team know that playbook. It’s being done in the UK, in France, to flatten their curves, and we absolutely have to do it now. We are all going to be on the same page in the public health measures because there’s a clear playbook. And again, we don’t have to do this for six months, nine months a year. The vaccines are around the corner. But if we don’t institute these measures and be very rigorous at the state and local levels about limiting certain businesses, not all businesses, most businesses can stay open, k-12 can stay open. We have to have masks. We have to limit indoor crowded spaces. If we do not do that, we will lose tens of thousands of Americans by the time the vaccine is out and widely distributed. So I am urging everyone, and you will hear every doc on the task force saying the same thing, that this is really crunch time. This is not crying wolf. This is a time that we need to really double down, because we are at the most serious and dangerous part of the pandemic that we have been in, in the United States until this time.”
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