(CNN) Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar warned Sunday that the “window is closing” for the United States to get the coronavirus pandemic under control, as confirmed cases are surging in a majority of the country and some states are dealing with record numbers of hospitalizations.
“Things are very different from two months ago… So it is a very different situation, but this is a very, very serious situation and the window is closing for us to take action and get this under control,” Azar told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”
He suggested that the US is better positioned to handled the pandemic than before, pointing to increased testing, contact tracing, hospital capacity, reserves of personal protective equipment, and advancement toward therapeutics and potential vaccines for the virus.
From Associated Press
American states reverse openings, require masks amid resurgence; EU to publish border list, US likely to miss out
Arizona’s Republican governor has shut down bars, movie theaters, gyms and water parks amid a dramatic resurgence of coronavirus cases.
The state is not alone in its drastic reversal. Texas, Florida and California are backtracking, closing beaches and bars.
Leaders in several states also ordered residents to wear masks in public. Among those implementing the face-covering order is the city of Jacksonville, Florida, where the mask-averse President Trump plans to accept the Republican nomination in August.
Arizona Governor Turnabout: Doug Ducey is now imploring residents to use face masks. While the Republican governor never discouraged their use, he had never previously given their usage a full-throated endorsement. The change is the latest sign that Ducey, similar to some other Republican governors, is being forced to set political considerations aside amid surging cases. This analysis from Jacques Billeaud and Peter Prengaman in Phoenix.
Europe Borders: The European Union is set to make public a list of countries whose citizens will be allowed back into 31 European nations, but Americans are likely to be refused entry for at least another two weeks.
India: The nation has reported more than 18,000 new cases and 400 deaths. An Indian company, Bharat Biotech, also says it has received permission to go ahead with the first two phases of clinical vaccine trials after initial studies demonstrated safety. Multiple vaccine trials are underway in India.
More from AP’s Global and U.S. teams:
- How risky is flying during the coronavirus pandemic? The AP is answering Viral Questions in this series.
- WHO-Contact Tracing: The head of the World Health Organization has dismissed complaints from countries that contact tracing is too difficult to implement as a control strategy as “lame.”
- U.S. Army Recruiting: COVID-19 has had a dramatic impact on military recruiting, shuttering enlistment stations around the country and forcing thousands of recruiters to woo potential soldiers online.
- Lives Lost: Michael Robert Marampe of Indonesia knew what he wanted to be since he was a kid: a doctor and a pianist. He became both, and his passion for music even led him to his fiancée — a woman he never got to marry because he got the virus and died aged 28.
- South Korea’s Fans To Return: The country’s professional baseball league says it will require fans to wear masks and sit at least a seat apart as it prepares to bring back spectators in the coming weeks. Teams will be initially allowed to sell only 30% of the seats for each game.
- Park Concerts: In the One Good Thing series – What started as a way for two musicians to get out of the house during the outbreak has turned into nightly concerts at the boathouse in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park — with fans who expect them to play three to four hours a night, seven nights a week.