Lawmakers try to find ways to slow spread of COVID-19 amid spike in cases

National

WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) — In the past month — more than 1.9 million COVID cases have been counted in the U.S. alone — by far the world’s largest increase. 

Lawmakers and administration officials in Washington are trying find ways to slow the spread. 

For the last thirty days, coronavirus cases surged in many parts of the U.S.

Health and Human Services Secretary Azar says Americans let their guard down. 

“During Memorial Day week a lot of us went out and engaged in behaviors that maybe weren’t as responsible,” Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar said.

And with school  around the corner, Azar says re-opening safely will be key to limiting the virus’ spread. 

HHS provided school districts with guidelines for how to re-open. But Secretary Azar says they haven’t guided districts on what to do if an outbreak happens, and in-person learning becomes unsafe.

“That would be, education is done at the local level by a local school board,” Azar said.

“That’s nowhere nearly good enough,” Rep. Ami Bera, D-Calif., said.

Congressman Ami Bera says the federal government needs to be more proactive — especially on testing. 

“The fact that we’re still talking about the availability of testing and the timeliness of testing is a failure,” Rep. Bera said.

Azar says the average COVID test results come back in four days — an improvement — but he says the administration can do better. 

“Even our state public health labs are running at 58 percent of their capacity,” Azar said. “They need to add additional shifts and be willing to use the equipment.” 

Bera says the administration’s most important role is to urge the public to socially distance — and wear masks.

“We all as Americans have a responsibility to protect one another,” Rep. Bera said.

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