Azar tells Chris Wallace COVID-19 spikes about behavior, not Trump
Fox’s Chris Wallace pressed Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on Sunday about whether President Trump’s vocal skepticism about face masks had exacerbated the coronavirus pandemic.
The spikes in the virus are “about behavior,” Azar said, noting that as the weather becomes colder “people are going indoors, they’re not wearing their face coverings, we’re engaged in indoor behaviors where we let our guard down.”
“We need people to renew their commitment,” he added.
Wallace responded by playing a clip of Trump at a briefing with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield. In the clip, Redfield announced the CDC recommended face coverings, to which Trump interjected “It’s voluntary, you don’t have to do it.”
“If President Trump had worn a mask then and urged everyone to wear a mask then, the way Joe Biden is right now, wouldn’t we be in much better shape?” Wallace asked.
“The president has called masks patriotic acts, everyone of his advisers are out there wearing masks,” Azar responded. “Our advice is the same regardless of the setting.”
“And regardless of whether the president ignores it or not?” Wallace countered.
“Regardless of the setting, our advice remains the same,” Azar repeated. “We encourage people to wear face coverings when they can’t maintain their social distance.”
Azar added that “Our community mitigation efforts have to be based in science and evidence or we lose support for them.”
“If we go too far, and we defer to governors on the steps they need to take, it’s their call but if we go beyond the steps we need to take we will undermine public support,” he added.
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