Dr Tom Frieden, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that the recent increase in coronavirus cases in different parts of the country is the result of the spread of the virus, not an increase in tests, as President Donald Trump said .
“As a doctor, scientist, epidemiologist, I can tell you 100% with certainty that in most states where you are seeing an increase, it is a real increase,” Frieden told Fox News Sunday.
He added: “It̵
Trump said last week that he had pushed administration officials to slow down tests to avoid the high number of confirmed infections. (White House officials said he was joking, but the president told reporters days later that he is not “joking”.)
“To be honest with you, when you do multiple tests, you find more cases,” the president told CBN News Monday. “And then they report that our cases are skyrocketing.”
There have been more than 125,000 coronavirus-related deaths in the United States and over 2.5 million confirmed cases of viruses nationwide since Sunday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
On Friday, the United States reported over 45,000 new cases, breaking the record for the country’s largest one-day total. Hospitalizations have increased dramatically in several states, including Arizona, Florida, Texas and South Carolina.
Frieden, who led the CDC from June 2009 to January 2017, suggested on Sunday that these states reopened too early in the pandemic.
“If you open up as cases continue to increase, like many states, it’s like leaning on a left hook: you will be hit hard,” Frieden said.
He estimated that another 15,000 people in the United States will die of COVID-19 in the following month.
Vice President Mike Pence, whom Trump appointed to head the White House coronavirus task force in February, said earlier this week that the death toll in the United States could reach 240,000.
Meanwhile, Alex Azar, the secretary of health and human services, warned Sunday that the wave of new infections is a “very serious situation”.
“I encourage your listeners, if you have had COVID, call your blood bank, the American Red Cross and please donate plasma to increase our supplies,” Azar said in an interview on “CNN State of the Union “. “So we have the tools to do it, we’ve done it in the past two weeks in North Carolina, but the window is closing. We must act and people as individuals must act responsibly.”
Azar added that most of the new infections in the southern states were in subjects 35 years of age or younger who may be asymptomatic and not so seriously at risk.
But Frieden on Sunday warned against taking too much comfort in the fact that it is mostly young people who are positive in some states.
“What starts in young people doesn’t stay in young people,” he said. “Young people have parents, uncles. … We will see a growing diffusion. That’s why the three W’s are so important: wear a mask, wash your hands or use a disinfectant and watch the distance. “
Last June Frieden pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in a sexual harassment case. A 55-year-old woman claimed to have grabbed her butt without her consent in her apartment in 2017. As part of her appeal, the charges of forced touching, sexual abuse and harassment against her have been dropped.
Watch Frieden’s full interview on “Fox News Sunday” below.
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