Intensive-care unit and lung doctor Dr. Vin Gupta slammed the Republican governors of Arizona, Florida and Texas for what he said was premature reopenings, especially as new variants take hold across the country.
“It’s not good public policy what the governors of Arizona, Florida and Texas are doing,” Gupta said. “It just doesn’t make sense from a scientific standpoint … There is a deep concern here, especially in these populous states with generally older populations living in these states, that variants are already taking root there.”
The U.S. is reporting 58,618 daily new Covid cases on average, up 6.7% over the past week, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. It’s the highest week-over-week increase since mid-January. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky issued a stern warning Friday.
“I remain deeply concerned about this trajectory,” Walensky said. “We have seen cases and hospital admissions move from historic declines, to stagnation, to increases. And we know from prior surges that if we don’t control things now, there is a real potential for the epidemic curve to soar again.”
Gupta, a NBC medical contributor, warned that the early reopenings could even spawn new, vaccine-resistant Covid variants.
“Are we going to give rise to a variant that might escape any type of immunity that the vaccine will impart … that is the big concern here,” Gupta said on CNBC’s “The News with Shepard Smith.”
“That’s why we really need governors to stay vigilant, to preach vigilance, to have consistent public policy across all 50 states for the next few months until everybody gets a vaccine,” he said. “That’s going to be the key piece here, otherwise, we may not have normalcy come July 4th.”
Gupta said that the U.S. was in a “race against time” to get as many people vaccinated as possible.
The White House announced Friday a record 3.4 million vaccines administered across the country. 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.