Pence attributes coronavirus spike to young Americans ‘disregarding’ Covid guidance

Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday said new outbreaks of the coronavirus may be arising because younger Americans aren’t abiding by federal guidance on how to prevent spread.

“One of the things that we’ve heard in Texas and Florida in particular is that nearly half of those who are testing positive are Americans under the age of 35,” Pence said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

“What is happening here is a combination of increased testing — we’re able to test a great deal more Americans than we were able to several months ago — but it also may be indication that as we’re opening our economy up, that younger Americans have been congregating in ways that may have disregarded the guidance that we gave on the federal level for all the phases of reopening,” he added.

Pence said people “should wear masks whenever social distancing is not possible” and “wherever it is indicated by state or local authorities.”

“We’re monitoring very closely new cases in Florida, Texas, Arizona and California,” Pence said, adding that he would be traveling to multiple states in the next several days to get an idea of conditions on the ground.

Pence also said the United States is now better able to deal with the pandemic.

“What the American people should know is that because of the leadership that President Trump has provided, because of the extraordinary innovation that we have brought to this task, we’re in a much better place to respond to these outbreaks than we were four months ago,” he said. “I mean, today we are now testing 500,000 Americans a day.”

The vice president said there is increased health care capacity, including more personal protective equipment and ventilators. He also defended the federal government’s deference to the states, which some have faulted because it led to a patchwork quilt of rules and regulations.

“We worked closely in partnership with governors to make sure that they had what they needed when they needed it, tailored to the unique circumstances in their states,” he said.

He cited success stories in several states, including New York and “early on in states like Washington.”

“We flattened the curve, we slowed the spread and we did it at a time early in this pandemic where we were just scaling testing up,” Pence said.

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