CDC director Dr Robert Redfield warned lawmakers at a hearing in Congress on Tuesday that Covid-19 has brought the U.S. to its knees, and appealed for more public health funding as states across the country continue charting record numbers of new cases each day.
“We have all done the best that we can do to tackle this virus and the reality is that it’s brought this nation to its knees,” Redfield told a House hearing on Tuesday.
Redfield added that public health resources in the U.S. had been underfunded at state and federal level.
He said that now is the time to step up investment in underfunded “core capabilities of public health” including public health workers, adding that the U.S. has used the capacity it has to tackle the virus.
Redfield’s assessment came after Dr Anthony Fauci said he was not aware of the president wanting to slow down testing as he said at his Tulsa rally because it makes the U.S. look bad, and instead said testing will be increased.
It comes as Washington state, an early coronavirus hotpot in the U.S., mandated the use of facemasks in public as confirmed cases in the state rose by more than a third last week.
Parts of the country including California, Texas and Arizona continue to see record new daily cases.
Washington state joins at least 16 other states where facemasks are mandatory: California, Connecticut, Delaware, DC, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island have made face masks compulsory in public settings. Despite expert recommendation and advice that mask wearing can lower risk of virus transmission, the issue has become political among some Republicans.
$7 trillion. That’s how much Redfield warned the virus could cost the U.S. economy.
The U.S. has reported 2.3 million coronavirus cases and more than 121,000 deaths to date. But while new cases appeared to be gradually falling throughout May, this month has seen a dramatic rise in new infections, data from Johns Hopkins University shows. Nationwide, cases rose by 25% last week, according to analysis by Reuters. Officials over the weekend warned that the first wave of the virus is far from over as more than half of U.S. states continue to report new cases.