Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Pence visits U.S. Public Health Service headquarters in Rockville

Vice-President Mike Pence donned a mask to visit the headquarters of the U.S. Public Health Service in Rockville yesterday. He was joined by members of the Trump administration's Coronavirus Task Force, including U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, Assistant Secretary for Health Adm. Brett Giroir, M.D., U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, and Dr. Stephan Hahn of the Food and Drug Administration.

Pence said "it is a particular honor to be here at the headquarters of the United States Public Health Service," and thanked "the women and men who wear the blue uniforms across the country and have served our nation with such distinction and compassion over the past four months." He reported that 28 states currently have rising numbers of coronavirus cases or rising percentages of positive Covid-19 tests. 12 states have both, he added. And four states currently account for half of the total cases in America at the moment.

Admiral Giroir said that self-administered home nasal swab test kits will be the next leap in testing across the country. He predicted that up to 50 million tests will be available by September.

Hahn described himself as "cautiously optimistic" about the timetable for making a Covid-19 vaccine available to the public. Almost all of the speakers stressed the importance of wearing masks until such a vaccine is widely available. 

"If you want the return of college football this year, wear a face covering.  If you want a chance at prom next spring, wear a face covering," urged Dr. Adams, who couldn't resist playing to the home crowd in Rockville - at least to those who remember the pre-Big-10 days of local college basketball. "I had an interview earlier with a North Carolina radio station...if you want to see North Carolina beat Duke in person this year, wear a face covering. And I grew up in Maryland and in Indiana, so, sorry, Duke, but long as somebody beats you, I’m okay with that," he said to laughter from attendees.

Photos via Office of the Vice-President