HHS Sec. Alex Azar Says Coronavirus Curve Is Bending

WASHINGTON, D.C.–The number of people with coronavirus in Indiana has gone up consistently. But, Health and Human Services Sec. Alex Azar, a former executive at Eli Lilly, says some states are having fewer people with positive test results.

“We’ve seen some, I think, quite encouraging developments as we look at places like Seattle and northern California that have been at this longer and have been engaged in the social distancing and community mitigation longer,” he said.

Indiana’s Alex Azar, head of the U.S. Health and Human Services Dept.

Azar said the “curve is bending” there, meaning that fewer positive cases and deaths are being reported per day.

In New York some of the numbers may be indicating that social distancing is working, he said.

“It’s really day by day at this point, too early to declare any trends. But, we are hopeful that we will be seeing the impacts of social distancing and community mitigation there.”

Azar said America and the rest of the world would have had more of a leg up in fighting the virus, had China allowed experts from the CDC and the World Health Organization into the country to study the disease.

“We offered, shortly after being alerted by the Chinese to this novel virus, we offered to send our CDC teams into China. These are the world’s leading epidemiological teams,” said Azar. He said the experts could have been working to answer some foundational questions about the virus.

“Does this disease transmit before people have symptoms? Does it transmit when people don’t have symptoms? Can there be people carrying and sharing this who never actually get symptoms?”

Azar said it was over one month before the World Health Organization was allowed to send experts in.

He also said the federal government is looking into what it will take to restart the economy, and that the federal government will be there to support states and offer advice.

 

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