Officials have yet to observe a surge in coronavirus cases in those states that have reopened after lockdowns. However, it is still too early to make determinations based on such patterns, says Alex Azar, Health and Human Services Secretary, according to Fox News.
"We are seeing that in places that are opening, we're not seeing this spike in cases," Azar said on CNN’s "State of the Union" program. "We still see spikes in some areas that are, in fact, closed."
It will take time to identify and report new cases as they unfold throughout the US, said Azar. The virus has up to a 14-day incubation period, which also plays a role in determining exactly when people get infected.
"It’s still early days," Azar cautioned during an interview with CBS’ "Face the Nation."
Azar continued by saying that the areas of importance when monitoring how quickly the virus spreads in recently opened states will include the monitoring of flu-like symptoms, and other hospital admissions data. One of the critical components of acquiring accurate data is to test those who may be asymptomatic, who could spread the virus without ever knowing they had it.
Nearly every state in the US has made efforts to reopen in some fashion, but only 14 of the 50 states have met the federal guidelines for lifting the measures currently in place. Azar said it would take time in states such as Georgia and Florida that have only started reopening within the past month.
Azar placed the brunt of the responsibility on local governments in terms of exactly how they decide to handle their plans to reopen.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said it was impossible to determine the projected path of the virus without more testing.
"We have no idea the size of this challenge to our country because we have not sufficiently tested," Pelosi said.
"These are very localized determinations. There should not be a one size fits all to reopening but reopen we must because it's not health versus the economy. It's health versus healthy," Azar said, according to Reuters.
Social distancing and wearing masks are still recommended in the states that have reopened.