(NEW YORK) — The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed over 20,000 American lives so far and the numbers are anticipated to worsen. However, health officials believe that the pandemic is reaching its peak due to the steady rate of hospitalizations reported across the country.
Appearing on ABC’s This Week Sunday, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn declared, “The models do show that we are very close to the peak. So I think that information is accurate. This has been a really fast-moving outbreak, so we really have to take this day by day.”
Dr. Hahn also pushed back against President Donald Trump’s earlier desires to have the nation begin opening back up sooner rather than later. “I think the public safety and the welfare of the American people has to come first,” he said, saying that a new goal will be set depending on the data as it comes in, and study of the outcomes seen in other countries also grappling with the virus.
As for when the economy will open back up, Hahn said in regard to a May 1 goal, “It is a target and obviously we’re hopeful about that target but I think it’s just too early to be able to tell that we see light at the end of the tunnel. I think it’s just too early for us to say whether May 1 is that date.”
Dr. Zeke Emanuel, a key architect of the Affordable Care Act and a special adviser to the director general of the World Health Organization, previously told ABC News that he doesn’t expect life to fully return to normal for at least 18 months. He said that estimate is due, in part, to vaccine research.
“Anyone who tells you we’re going to have a vaccine in three or four months, that’s just not the reality of how biology and research works,” Dr. Emanuel explained.
While the nation may be approaching its peak of COVID-19 infections, health experts warn that the country has a long way back down to normal. Because of that, they strongly recommend that people continue abiding by social distancing guidelines to help further limit the virus’ spread.
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