The CDC has expressed serious concerns that coronavirus numbers will spike as Americans refuse to perform any form of social distancing or even wear masks.
Over the past week, many Americans took to the streets to protest the death of George Floyd, whose alleged murder at the hands of police plunged the nation into disarray. Many protesters who turned out to city streets did not wear masks, much less stand five feet apart.
Testifying before the House Appropriations Committee on Thursday, CDC Director Robert Redfield said he was “very concerned” that the health message the agency had drilled into the heads of Americans over the past three months is no longer “resonating” with the public, per CNBC.
All 50 states are in the process of easing quarantine and stay-at-home orders that were strictly enforced by the police, drawing widespread controversy about the constitutionality of those orders. Redfield says that “not all states” met the White House’s criteria for reopening businesses.
Redfield stated that he sees “a lot of people” not wearing masks in Washington, DC, but noted that those in his hometown of Baltimore had continued to wear masks. Redfield noted that only some of the people seen in large gatherings were spotted with masks.
"We will continue to message as well as we can," he said. "We're going to encourage people that have the ability to require to wear masks when they are in their environment to continue to do that."
Redfield testified that there was no evidence that the coronavirus had gotten less lethal. He added that the protests may act as a “seeding event” for infections and future hospitalizations.
“And the way to minimize that is to have each individual to recognize it is an advantage of them to protect their loved ones, to [say] ‘hey, I was out, I need to go get tested.’”