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