Stephen Hahn, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, warned Sunday that the coronavirus is “not yet contained” as the United States began to reopen over Memorial Day weekend.
“It is up to every individual to protect themselves and their community,” Hahn tweeted. “Social distancing, hand washing and wearing masks protect us all.”
As of May 20, all 50 states have begun reopening in some form amid the ongoing pandemic. Photos showed crowds of people without masks gathering in various parts of the country over Memorial Day weekend as the death toll from the virus neared 100,000 in the U.S.
Photos of some beaches, boardwalks and bars showed people, many without masks, flouting the federal government’s 6-foot social distancing guidelines. Viral videos showed people partying in pools and on yachts at Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri, garnering heated criticism from many Twitter users.
Dr. Deborah Birx, an infectious disease expert on the White House’s coronavirus task force, told “Fox News Sunday” that she’s “very concerned” about people ignoring the social distancing guidelines.
“We now have excellent scientific evidence of how far droplets go when we speak,” Birx said. “We know being outside does help. We know sun does help in killing the virus. But that doesn’t change the fact that people need to be responsible and maintain that distance.”
President Donald Trump has long pushed for states to reopen, even when they don’t meet the criteria for doing so as laid out by his own guidelines last month. On Friday, Trump demanded governors allow houses of worship to reopen, calling them “essential places that provide essential services.”
“If they don’t do it, I will override the governors,” the president threatened during a news briefing. Legal scholars say he has little formal power to force governors or businesses to do what he wants, however.
As coronavirus cases continued to rise in some states, Trump tweeted Sunday that “cases, numbers and deaths are going down all over the Country.”
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