HHS Secretary Azar Advocates For Masks To 'Avoid Further Shutdowns'

HHS Secretary Azar Advocates For Masks To 'Avoid Further Shutdowns'
Pressed on why there are no federal guidance numbers on when it is safe to operate schools, Azar said the decision is a local one.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar advocated for reopening schools in the fall but acknowledged the Trump administration has not offered any benchmarks for when it is safe for children to be back in the classroom.

In an interview with CBS on Sunday, Azar said wearing masks would help "avoid further shutdowns" and not doing so could be detrimental.

He said: "The most important thing we’ve got to do right now is each of us act responsibly as individuals. Wear our face coverings. Practice social distancing. Use good personal hygiene. We know this works if we just will do this as individuals.”

But Azar was asked about new CDC guidelines which favor kids returning to school and why the federal government is not setting coronavirus numbers for when classes can operate safely.


“We don’t believe that there are uniform thresholds for school reopenings ... Each community’s going to have to make the determination about circumstances for reopening. The presumption should be we get our kids back to school and we figure out how to make that happen.”

Also on CBS, Scott Gottlieb, President Trump's former head of the Food and Drug Administration, said a positivity rate of above 10 percent is the "threshold where districts should think carefully about closing."