Intensive care unit and pulmonologist Dr. Vin Gupta slapped Republican governors of Arizona, Florida and Texas for what he said were premature reopenings, especially as new variants emerge across the country.
“It’s not good public policy what the governors of Arizona, Florida and Texas are doing,” Gupta said. “From a scientific standpoint, it just doesn’t make sense … There is a deep concern here, especially in these densely populated states with generally older populations living in these states, that variants are already taking root there.”
The US reports an average of 58,618 new Covid cases daily, up 6.7% in the past week, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University. It’s the highest week-to-week increase since mid-January. Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Rochelle Walensky issued a stern warning on Friday.
“I remain very concerned about this trajectory,” said Walensky. “We’ve seen cases and hospital admissions move from historical declines, to stagnation, to increases. And we know from past peaks that if we don’t control things now, there is a real potential that the epidemic curve will rise again.”
Gupta, an NBC medical officer, warned that the early reopenings could even spawn new, vaccine-resistant Covid variants.
“Are we going to give rise to a variant that could escape any kind of immunity that the vaccine will confer … that’s the big concern here,” Gupta said on The Washington City Times’s “The News with Shepard Smith.”
“That’s why we really need governors to stay vigilant, to preach vigilance, to have consistent public policies in all 50 states for the next few months until everyone gets a vaccine,” he said. “That’s going to be the most important part here, otherwise we might not have normalcy on July 4th.”
Gupta said the US was in a “race against time” to get as many people as possible vaccinated.
The White House announced a record 3.4 million vaccines delivered nationwide on Friday. That number could grow as Johnson & Johnson prepares to deliver 11 million doses of its single shot vaccine next week.
Representatives for the governors of Arizona, Texas, and Florida were not immediately available to comment.