Vice President Mike Pence spoke to Fox News Rundown for an interview that was released on Friday, in which he discussed the coronavirus trajectory in the United States, Breitbart reported. Pence said the virus could be significantly curbed by early June with adequate social distancing and adherence to advice from public health officials.
“I think if the American people continue to practice social distancing, if they heed the guidance, particularly through any phased reopening from their state and local officials, I believe we could have much of this coronavirus epidemic behind us by early June,” he said.
“But, it’s going to take all of us and doing everything that we need to continue to do to get through this. But, I have every confidence that we will.”
Pence’s comments echo those made during last week’s appearance on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show, where he expressed optimism that the worst of the virus would subside in the U.S. by early June. The vice president’s prediction also comes after he faced backlash for visiting Minneapolis’ Mayo Clinic hospital without a mask, which runs contrary to the clinic’s requirement. According to Pence’s wife, he was not aware of the clinic’s policy before attending. However, his wife’s words reportedly contradict claims from the hospital, which said Pence was told beforehand to wear personal protective equipment.
As reported by USA Today, many states are poised to relax pandemic measures and reopen their economies this weekend. But even with some states reopening, public health researcher Ali Mokdad suggests that normalcy is far in the future, as people still fear infection.
“They will practice social distancing, they’re going to be wearing masks, they’re going to be afraid. Even when some businesses are opening, many people are not going.”
According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, reopening comes with a “significant risk,” CNN reported. As of Friday evening, America has a confirmed 1.13 million COVID-19 cases and 65,425 deaths. Fauci claims that reopening states, an action which runs counter to public health experts’ advice, could lead to a spike in cases that some states might not be able to handle.
While Fauci believes that coronavirus will not subside until a vaccine is widely available, Pence appears to have confidence in the efficacy of social distancing. Despite his optimism, he has urged Americans to follow local and state authorities’ advice and avoid large public gatherings.
President Donald Trump appears to share Pence’s optimism and has repeatedly pushed for reopening the economy as soon as possible.