The intensive care unit and the pulmonologist Dr. Vin Gupta have beaten up Republican governors of Arizona, Florida, and Texas for reopening prematurely, particularly as new variants are taking hold across the country.
“What the governors of Arizona, Florida, and Texas are doing is not good public policy,” Gupta said. “From a scientific point of view, it just doesn’t make sense … Especially in these populous states with generally older populations living in these states, there is a deep concern here that variants are already gaining a foothold.”
The US reports an average of 58,618 new Covid cases per day, an increase of 6.7% over the past week, according to Johns Hopkins University. This is the highest increase from the week since mid-January. The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, issued a stern warning on Friday.
“I am still deeply concerned about this development,” said Walensky. “We have seen cases and hospital admissions go from historical declines to stagnation to increases. And we know from previous waves that if we don’t control things now, the epidemic curve has real potential to rise again.”
Gupta, an NBC medical worker, warned the early reopening could even spawn new, vaccine-resistant variants of Covid.
“Are we going to create a variant that evades any type of immunity the vaccine confers … that’s the big problem here,” Gupta said on CNBC’s The News with Shepard Smith.
“So we really need governors who will stay vigilant, preach vigilance and have a uniform public policy in all 50 states for the next few months until everyone gets a vaccine,” he said. “That will be the key piece here, otherwise we may not have normality on July 4th.”
Gupta said the US is in a “race against time” to vaccinate as many people as possible.
The White House announced on Friday a record 3.4 million vaccines administered nationwide. That number could rise as Johnson & Johnson prepares to dispense 11 million doses of its single-shot vaccine next week.
Representatives from the governors of Arizona, Texas, and Florida were not immediately available to comment.