HHS Secretary Alex Azar discusses federal COVID-19 response | KOB 4

HHS Secretary Alex Azar discusses federal COVID-19 response

Joy Wang
Updated: August 21, 2020 06:50 PM
Created: August 21, 2020 06:14 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Alex Azar, secretary of Health and Human Services, recently returned from a trip from Taiwan, which has been successful in containing COVID-19.

The country has reported fewer than 500 cases. The U.S., which is a much larger country, has reported 5.6 million cases.

Azar said various factors played into Taiwan's successful response.

"It's very different when you have 22 million individuals on an island with a highly centralized system," Azar said. "It's really an opposite in terms of its approach."

Masks are also widely used in Taiwan. Azar said, in the U.S., masks are recommended, but there is no mandate from the federal government.

"We don't believe, we don't call for mask mandates at any level," Azar said. "It's really for state and local authorities to determine."

Azar is optimistic that a COVID-19 vaccine is right around the corner. 

"We are now in a position where we believe that it is highly credible that we will have in tens of millions of FDA gold standard vaccine by the end of this year and many hundreds of millions of doses into next year," Azar said. 

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