While many Americans are practicing social distancing and wearing masks to slow the spread of the coronavirus, some are not and Alex Azar, the U.S. secretary of health and human services, is sharing his thoughts on the matter.
CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Azar if he was concerned with images of crowds congregating at bars without wearing masks and practicing social distancing.
Azar acknowledged the free will Americans have and how that factors into the implementation of the guidelines by local leaders.
“I think in any individual instance you’re going to see people doing things that are irresponsible, that’s part of the freedom we have here in America,” Azar said.
Check out his comments below:
"In any individual instance you're going to see people doing things that are irresponsible, that's part of the freedom we have here in America." HHS Secretary Alex Azar reacts to some Americans not following federal guidance to wear a mask and social distance #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/JtHU1SkPg9— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) May 17, 2020
Azar acknowledged the power the surgeon general has to issue guidance, but it is ultimately up to local leaders to implement and interpret the guidelines based on the situation in their areas.
He is adamant the United States needs to reopen.
“We’ve got to get this economy and our people out and about, working, going to school again because there are serious health consequences to what we’ve been going through,” Azar said.
Cuomo told Seth Meyers he believes “it’s disrespectful for people not to wear a mask.”
He recognized the freedom Americans have to choose not to wear a mask, but not at the expense of himself and his family.
“You don’t have a right to infect me. You don’t have a right to infect my daughter. So wear a mask,” Cuomo said. “It’s not that big of a deal.”
The coronavirus pandemic continues to cripple the United States. As of Sunday evening, there are more than 1,000,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in the nation alone and over 89,000 deaths.