Donald Trump's Health Secretary Says 'Window is Closing' on Efforts to Contain Coronavirus Infections

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar warns that a second lockdown could become a reality for some as the “window is closing” in regards to the opportunity to contain the coronavirus. Appearing on Meet The Press, Azar said it’s possible to reopen states and keep numbers at a reasonable rate, but that the chance to do so may be slipping away.

He said that the country has “the tools” to execute phased reopenings but must remain diligent. Azar urged everyone to “act responsibly” when it comes to reinserting themselves into the public. In order to do so, he said that social distancing must remain at the forefront on everyone’s minds and wear face masks “in settings where we can’t social-distance, particularly in these hot zones.” His message comes a handful of states, including some of the most populous ones, are seeing major spikes in its numbers.

No state finds itself getting hit harder than Florida right now. Gov. Ron DeSantis dialed back his reopening plan slightly on Friday, announcing that bars in the state would be closing up on-site consumption. This was a move that was also followed on Sunday by Gov. Gavin Newsome, who ordered that California bars must do the same. In Florida, positive tests are becoming a growing issue as Sunday marked the third straight day at least 8,500 new cases were reported. California has eclipsed 211,000 cases, including more than 5,000 on Saturday. Arizona and Texas are also seeing an alarming increase in cases with the former setting a record on Sunday with 3,858 announced cases. Texas set a record itself for positive results in a single day on Saturday with 6,263.

On Sunday, Vice President Mike Pence spoke on Texas and the other states that have seen record jumps occur. He encouraged everyone to wear a mask in those areas whenever it’s not possible to keep six feet a part, but no mandate has been set in many of the hardest hits areas yet. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott shared in his daily press conference that COVID-19 has “taken a very swift and very dangerous turn” in the state.