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CDC director says people aren’t taking coronavirus seriously anymore

Published Jun 5th, 2020 2:23PM EDT
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Image: Erik Pendzich/Shutterstock

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  • Director of the CDC says nobody seems to be taking the threat of the coronavirus pandemic seriously anymore in the United States.
  • Robert Redfield told lawmakers that Americans seem to be ignoring social distancing advice and no longer wearing face masks.
  • Ignoring best practices that could save lives will ultimately result in more cases and hardship as we wait for a vaccine.

Some of the things the Centers for Disease Control has done since the very earliest days of the coronavirus pandemic have been puzzling. Some of the advice coming out of the agency has been questioned by scientists and health professionals, and the organization has appeared slow to react to changes.

Now, CDC Director Robert Redfield is saying something that not only makes sense, but is incredibly obvious to anyone that is paying attention: Nobody is taking coronavirus protection guidelines seriously, and we’re all setting ourselves up for not only the second wave of infections but continued hardships down the line.

Redfield made his comments during a congressional hearing on Thursday, explaining that based on what he’s seeing, the general public doesn’t seem to care all that much that a deadly pandemic is sweeping the nation.

“We’re very concerned that our public health message isn’t resonating,” Redfield said during the hearing. “We continue to try to figure out how to penetrate the message with different groups.”

Redfield went on to emphasize that face masks are still incredibly important, despite the fact that most states aren’t enforcing any mandates on wearing them, and some states have no official guidelines in place at all.

“If people were asymptomatic or pre-symptomatically infected, if they were wearing a face covering, they would have less ability to transmit to others,” Redfield told the assembled lawmakers. “That’s why we embraced this important public health tool. I will say that we continue to see this as a critical public health tool.”

Redfield isn’t alone in his concern that the United States seems to be taking a lax or even lazy approach to combating the continued spread of COVID-19. For weeks, people sheltered in place and played by the rules, but now that states are beginning to loosen their restrictions a bit, a lot of people are taking that to mean they can return to their previous ways of doing things.

The fact remains that the pandemic is not over. The virus is still spreading. Some states, including those that have recently loosened restrictions, are now seeing the number of confirmed coronavirus cases climb. Even in states where there are mandates on wearing masks or social distancing, ensuring that people follow those rules is next to impossible.

We won’t have to wait long before we start to see even more dramatic upticks in COVID-19 cases across the country. With ongoing protests, summer gatherings, and a lack of a coronavirus vaccine, it could be a recipe for disaster.

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