With the worst of the coronavirus pandemic seemingly behind us, the Trump administration’s attention has shifted away containment of the disease toward how best to safely lift state-imposed restrictions and reopen the nation.
In fact, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield has confirmed to The Hill that even he is on board with the reopening efforts.
“We’re fighting outbreaks”
In an interview published by The Hill on Tuesday, reporter Steve Clemons asked the CDC director if the U.S. is “ready” to start reopening this soon.
In response, Redfield pointed to the agency’s guidance on reopening — but said it can be done “safely.”
“CDC is putting out guidance,” he told The Hill. “We put out a lot over the weekend again about you know how to reopen safely.”
Redfield also said “community-based transmission, the community to community transmission that overwhelmed the public health departments in late February, March, April — that’s really coming down.”
He went on:
Right now, what CDC and the state public health systems are doing is we’re fighting outbreaks. We have nursing home outbreaks, and we’re going in and containing them. We are having meatpacking plants — containing them. Prison, homeless — containing them. Certain social events from a wedding or a funeral — containing them. And we’re going to continue to do that over the summer.
“Our testing is much better”
According to a tracker from Johns Hopkins University, the U.S. has seen roughly 1.6 million confirmed cases of COVID-19. More than 95,000 Americans have died from the disease.
Still, members of the Trump administration — including Redfield — have been optimistic about getting the country going again. Part of that effort includes increasing the nation’s testing capacity — and in recent days, President Trump himself has touted America’s progress in that regard.
“When we have a lot of cases, I don’t look at that as a bad thing,” Trump said at a Cabinet meeting Tuesday, according to Politico. “I look at that in a certain respect as being a good thing, because it means our testing is much better. So, if we were testing a million people instead of 14 million people, it would have far few cases, right?”
But all that testing, Redfield warned, is “going to cost money.”
The New York Times notes that Congress has already thrown trillions of dollars at the coronavirus crisis. How much more can we really take?