US health officials cite progress against coronavirus

Sept. 24, 2020

As the United States enters into an uncertain new phase of the COVID-19 pandemic amid controversies about the federal response, the nation's leading health officials told lawmakers that the country is making some progress against the coronavirus, but they urged Americans to continue mitigation efforts as they await a vaccine, wrote Chris Dall in a report for the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP).

At a hearing held by the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee, Admiral Brett Giroir, MD, assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), said the number of new COVID cases in the country is down since the post–Memorial Day peaks, while the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 has fallen 54 percent and the number of COVID-associated deaths is down 32 percent.

"But let me emphasize that to sustain these gains, we must continue our disciplined mitigation efforts," Giroir told the committee in prepared remarks. "Especially wearing masks when we cannot physically distance, avoiding crowds, particularly indoors, and increasing our screening and surveillance testing."

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield, MD, while acknowledging the tragedy of more than 200,000 US COVID-19 deaths to date, said the mortality rate in COVID-19 patients, particularly in the elderly, has been improving.

"These improvements, however, do not mean that we can let our guard down," Redfield said. "Over the last week, we had an average of over 40,000 cases and nearly 800 daily deaths."

CIDRAP has the report.

More COVID-19 coverage HERE.

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