Vice President Mike Pence assured Americans that the United States is still holding strong in the fight against the coronavirus, despite the surge of the virus in 16 different states.
“We’re in a much stronger place,” Pence said during the coronavirus task force briefing on Friday at the Department of Health and Human Services. “The truth is we did slow the spread. We flattened the curve.”
Texas and Florida rolled back some of their reopening steps on Friday, ordering bars to stop serving alcohol on site as cases rose in their states.
Pence acknowledged that Americans might be discouraged to see the numbers rising in some parts of the country but said that the country was nowhere near where it was in March.
“We believe we’ve made progress,” Pence said. “But as we are reminded as we see cases arising across the South, that we still have work to do.”
The vice president also said it was “almost inarguable” that more testing was generating higher case numbers.
“To one extent or another, the volume of new cases coming in is a reflection of a great success in expanding testing across the country,” he said, noting that the United States was now testing about 500,000 people a day.
Dr. Deborah Birx said that as states like Texas and Arizona increased their testing, they initially continued to see positive cases decline. That changed, she said, in the last two and a half weeks.
“Rising number of tests being performed but also rising test positivity, rising cases,” she said, pointing to her charts.
Pence also said he was encouraged that in Texas and Florida roughly half the positive tests were age 35 and younger.
He said that it was “very encouraging news” citing experts who said that younger Americans were less susceptible to the serious consequences of the virus.
Pence urged Americans, particularly in areas experiencing a spike in cases, to keep following the task force guidelines and wash their hands, avoid touching their faces, disinfect, social distance, and other practices to avoid spreading the disease.
He concluded by urging all Americans to keep praying.
“I’d just encourage every American to continue to pray, pray for all the families that have lost loved ones, pray for our healthcare workers on the front lines, and just continue to pray that, by God’s grace, every single day we’ll each of us do our part to heal our land,” he said.