Although Donald Trump has received bipartisan opprobrium over his perceived mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic, some in his administration believe the blame for a current spike in infections is misplaced.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in an interview on Sunday that the increase in positive test results, hospitalizations, and deaths can be attributed mostly to a change in behaviors.
He said that “people are going indoors, they’re not wearing their face coverings, we’re engaged in indoor behaviors where we let our guard down.”
After Azar called on Americans to “renew their commitment” in the fight against COVID-19, Fox News Channel anchor Chris Wallace aired a clip of Trump calling mask use “voluntary,” asking his guest: “If the president had worn a mask then and urged everyone to wear a mask then, the way [President-elect] Joe Biden is now, wouldn’t we be in much better shape?”
Azar attempted to rebut Wallace’s assertion by pivoting to the fact that many Trump allies wear face masks in public. As for HHS guidelines, he concluded that its advice for the ongoing public health crisis “is the same regardless of the setting.”