Top U.S. Official Warns Our "Window Is Closing" to Control Coronavirus

This might be our last chance to get the virus under control.

As states throughout the country continue to beat their personal record of daily new coronavirus cases, America's opportunity to get COVID-19 under control gets startlingly slimmer. Some states have resolved to pause reopening while others have made face masks mandatory in public in an effort to get citizens on board with coronavirus precautions. We've yet to see if these additional safety measures will help mitigate the spread of the virus or if we'll continue heading down a risky path. According to Alex Azar, the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, America may miss its chance to control the coronavirus if we don't change our ways.

During CNN's "State of the Union" on June 28, Azar told Jake Tapper, "This is a very, very serious situation and the window is closing for us to take action and get this under control." Azar said that he believes the U.S. is in a better position to handle the pandemic right now due to increased testing, contact tracing, hospital capacity, reserves of personal protective equipment, and advancement toward potential vaccines for the virus. However, the amount of new COVID-19 cases throughout the country shows the opposite. On June 26, America reported 40,173 new cases, breaking the previous record from the day before, according to CNN.

Large group of teenagers walking and eating ice cream some wearing masks some not wearing masks

The reason behind the rising cases? "Inappropriate individual behavior," according to Azar. While many people are inclined to fault rapid reopening for enabling the spread of the virus, Azar points to the way individuals are behaving during the reopening. He warned that if Americans "act irresponsibly, if we don't socially distance, if we don't use face coverings in settings where we can't social distance, if we don't practice appropriate personal hygiene, we're going to see a spread of the disease."

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With summer in full swing and some regions reopening around the country, some people have abandoned mask protocol and pleas for social distancing. If Azar is correct and America's window of opportunity to control the virus is in fact closing, following these measures is crucial to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. And for more information on why COVID-19 cases are spiking, check out This Is Exactly Why Coronavirus Cases Are Surging, Harvard Doctor Says.

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