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US Health secretary: Wearing masks ‘difficult’ for Western democracies

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  • Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on Sunday pleaded with Americans to continue their fight against the coronavirus by social distancing and wearing masks.
  • Azar said that consistent mask wearing was “a difficult message for all western democracies.”
  • With several vaccines currently being tested, Azar said that there was “promise in the weeks and months ahead.”
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Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on Sunday urged Americans to continue their fight against the coronavirus by social distancing and wearing masks, while cautioning that it wasn’t easy for many to follow the health guidelines.

On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Azar said that the people of the country have endured many challenges in the fight against the highly contagious virus and pleaded with them to continue their efforts.

“We’re seeing mitigation fatigue right now and, you know, I just hope that we have so much promise in the weeks and months ahead, next generation therapeutics, safe and effective vaccines,” he said.

He continued: “My message to the American people, please practice those three W’s: Wash your hands, watch your distance, wear your face coverings when you can’t watch your distance … Be mindful of those indoor household gatherings. Just because you’re related to someone or friends with someone doesn’t mean you can’t transmit or get transmitted to.”

 

When asked by host Chuck Todd why President Trump has difficulty adhering to health guidelines, Azar said that consistent mask-wearing is a problem that is not unique to the United States.

“I think it’s a difficult message for all western democracies,” he said. “We’re seeing that in Europe. People are tired. The American people have given so much. People of Europe have given so much. They’ve been locked down. They’ve been isolated and they’re tired.”

Todd then pressed Azar on why the president campaigned in Janesville, Wisconsin, on Saturday. The perennial presidential battleground state has seen a surge in coronavirus infections over the past few weeks and is considered a hot spot for the virus, according to The New York Times.

“We’re seeing an increase in cases in states, whether red or blue or open or closed,” Azar said. “Some countries, on a population-adjusted basis, have two or three times what we have in the US. The ticket is in our own hands.”

While many people attendees at Trump’s Wisconsin rally wore masks, others did not, and Trump once again downplayed the virus at the event, despite having contracted it himself earlier in October.

As of October 18, over 219,000 people have died of the coronavirus in the US since the pandemic began in March. There have been over 8 million confirmed cases of the virus in the country during that time.

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