HHS Secretary Alex Azar Says Healthcare Workers “Don’t Get Infected” With COVID

Alex Azar in the July 8 National Dialogue on Safely Reopening America's Schools.Screengrab / The White House / YouTube


While making the case for reopening schools, he overstated how much precautions have protected healthcare workers.

Common Dreams NewsCenter reports that Alex Azar, secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services, erroneously asserted that thanks to “appropriate precautions,” American healthcare workers “don’t get infected” with COVID-19.

Azar made the remark during the July 8 National Dialogue on Safely Reopening America’s Schools. He said,

There's no reason we can't [reopen schools.] We have healthcare settings. We have healthcare workers, they don't get infected because they take appropriate precautions. They engage in social distancing, they wear facial covering, they use good personal hygiene. This can work, you can do all of this. There's no reason schools have to be in any way any different.

  • However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of July 8 more than 94,000 healthcare workers have contracted COVID-19, and at least 500 have died.
  • Additionally, a collaborative report by Kaiser Health News and the Guardian titled “Lost on the Frontline” has identified at least 765 healthcare workers who likely died from COVID-19 complications.
  • In response to widespread criticism, Health and Human Services spokesperson Michael Cavuto Tweeted that Azar is “ is keenly aware of and grateful for the sacrifices #HealthcareHeroes have been making throughout this pandemic” and that “It’s foolish to report that the Health Secretary… doesn’t believe these warriors get sick & die.”
  • Other medical professionals have expressed doubts that precautionary measures taken in healthcare settings will transfer to schools so easily. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s Dr. Prasad Jallepalli pointed out in a Tweet that healthcare workers “are trained in infection control and have used [personal protective equipment] for years,” experience that teachers and students will not have.

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Comments (1)
No. 1-1

You have obviously never visited an elementary school where 30 kids are crammed in one room. Take a day off and go visit a first grade classroom. Stay all day. Try navigating a school day with social distancing! Then you can tell all the educators how this can possibly be achieved, because it CAN’T BE!!

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