U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar testifies before the House Select subcommittee on the coronavirus crisis on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on Oct.2. Michael A. McCoy / AFP / Getty Images
Health Secretary Alex Azar trailed a surge in US coronavirus cases to “soothing fatigue” and wished more seniors had worn masks at President Trump’s indoor event on Friday in Fort Myers, Florida.
“Cases are on the rise,” Azar admitted on NBC’s Meet the Press. “We see this because we get colder weather and lose the natural social distance that comes with being outdoors.”
“People get tired,” he added. “We are currently seeing a reduction in fatigue.”
Azar encouraged people to continue to adhere to guidelines on face covering, hand washing, and social distancing in order to create what he called a “bridge” to the time a vaccine and treatments became available.
“Think about these indoor house meetings,” he said. “Just because you are related or friends with someone doesn’t mean you can’t broadcast.”
Trump has often held large gatherings, contrary to the wishes of local officials, where there is no social distancing and people do not wear masks. Many, but not all, are out.
At Trump’s indoor event in Fort Myers that Azar attended, the Minister of Health urged that masks be provided and social distancing attempted.
“I wish everyone there had covered their faces and kept social distance,” he said.
Azar said that herd immunity to coronavirus – when a percentage of people have gotten sick and gained immunity, thereby protecting the rest of the population – is not the administration’s current policy.
“No, that’s not our policy. It is a wish through vaccination to get herd immunity, ”he said. “The desire is to reduce cases, reduce cases, reduce hospital stays, reduce deaths.”
He added that it is the government’s overall goal to do this in the future, once there is widespread use of a vaccine that will protect most people.