CDC chief urges Americans to be vigilant on Coronavirus

ajc.com

Worried by photos of large gatherings of people which could lead to a spike in Coronavirus cases, the head of the Centers for Disease Control used testimony before Congress Thursday to plead with Americans to wear masks in public and continue to engage in social distancing measures to stop the spread of the virus.

"We're very concerned that our public health message is not resonating," Redfield told a hearing of the House Appropriations Committee.

Redfield told of his own personal experience in seeing how mask use changes just by driving up the road 45 minutes.

"In the Baltimore area, I don't see anybody without a mask," Redfield told lawmakers. "But a lot of times when I walk through Washington, D.C., I see a lot of people without a mask.

At the hearing, Redfield saw first hand some of the opposition to the idea of wearing masks, in an exchange with Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD).

"There is now a cult of masks," said Harris, a physician who has been highly critical of what he says has been an overbearing government response to the Coronavirus outbreak.

"I’m afraid to get a picture taken of me without a mask somewhere, because someone will say how can you possibly, you’re a doctor, how can you not wear a mask?" Harris told Redfield.

But the CDC Director said a combination of masks - and continued social distancing - would be needed not only this summer, but later this year as well.

"Because we're going to need them to be our major defense again, in October, November, and December," Redfield said.

Asked about the massive wave of protests and large gatherings in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, Redfield said he would strongly recommend that anyone joining those protests wear some type of face covering as well.

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