Senior health official says US ‘fails’ on COVID-19
WASHINGTON – With the United States recording its largest daily load of COVID-19 cases in six months, a senior public health official warned on Sunday that the country was “in check.”
“We should never have gotten to where we are,” said Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, on ABC’s “This Week”.
“In this regard, yes, we fail.
An increase in the highly transmissible variant Delta brought a wealth of bad news: the total number of new daily cases rose to 118,000, their highest since February; deaths have increased by 89% in the past two weeks, although they have declined slightly globally; and children’s hospitals in states like Florida are “overwhelmed” as young people are increasingly affected.
Fears about the Delta variant have triggered an increase in vaccination rates. Yet millions of people, especially in conservative areas, remain skeptical despite extensive scientific data confirming the safety of vaccines.
“We wouldn’t be where we are right now with this Delta push if we had been more efficient at getting everyone vaccinated,” Collins said.
“Now we are paying a terrible price.”
Another senior health official, Anthony Fauci, has meanwhile highlighted the possible final approval of key vaccines by the Federal Food and Drug Administration this month – something some skeptics have said they need to hear.
“Hopefully it will be in August,” Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told NBC’s “Meet the Press”.
But children under 12 are not yet eligible for vaccines, and Collins said the number of children hospitalized with COVID-19 is now at an all-time high of 1,450.
Amid renewed mask-wearing debate, Collins said that if children who return to school in person are not required to wear masks, “this virus will spread more widely.
“It will likely lead to epidemics in schools and children will have to go back to distance learning, which is the only thing we want to prevent.”
The United States Centers for Disease Control said in a Twitter message on Sunday that even asymptomatic children can spread COVID-19, adding: “Children 2 years of age or older should wear masks in indoor public places, including schools. “
U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona urged schools on Sunday, many of which are running free COVID-19 immunization clinics, “to take the advice of the CDC and let our education officials take the lead. “. He appeared on CBS’s “Face the Nation”.
In Florida, one of the states hardest hit by the latest wave, Governor Ron DeSantis sparked political fury when he issued an order banning school districts across the state from requiring masks to be worn.
But with state hospitals grappling with a heavy patient load, a handful of school districts have said they will defy the order.
“Our children’s hospitals are completely overwhelmed,” Aileen Marty, infectious disease expert at Florida International University, told CNN.
“Our pediatricians, nurses, staff are exhausted and the children are suffering. And it’s absolutely devastating.” – France Media Agency