Health Secretary Alex Azar on Tuesday blamed risky behavior by individuals and not the reopening of economies for driving the spike in new coronavirus cases across the Sun Belt.
He insisted reopenings could continue if people “act responsibly” and take simple precautions: Social distance, wear masks and wash hands.
Failure to follow the guidelines, he said, resulted in outbreaks that triggered a pause or rollback of business reopening in a dozen states.
“Clearly something to do with our behaviors is a major driver of that [increase in cases],” Mr. Azar said on Fox Business Network. “We can continue to reopen — to get back to work, get back to school, get back to health care — but we have to act responsibly as individuals.”
Mr. Azar said the governors in newly hard-hit Arizona, California and Texas report that people are not following guidelines at bars, nightclubs or outdoor gatherings, and that is behind the spike in COVID-19 cases.
“There’s clearly a major element of that because see other states, other counties that are engaged in exactly the same or greater levels of reopening that are not seeing surges in cases,” Mr. Azar said.