Politico

Acting Homeland Security leader defends White House response to coronavirus


Despite rising numbers of coronavirus infections, acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf said Sunday that states are reopening in “a safe and reasonable way.”

Wolf said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the White House task force worked day and night to issue guidance for a careful economic reopening: “And I think that’s what we’re seeing.”

“We’re seeing a number of states throughout the country in different phases … trying to get the country back up and running, and we’re doing a great job at that,” Wolf continued.

President Donald Trump, whose administration has been accused of botching the rollout of testing and making the pandemic political, is adamant that America will not shut down a second time. Though rules and restrictions now vary from state to state, much of the nation has reopened in one form or another despite rising case numbers, particularly in the South and West.

Cases are rising in Oklahoma, where Trump forged ahead with his indoor campaign rally in Tulsa on Saturday. That same day, the state’s health department reported more than 300 new cases of the virus, and its total number of confirmed cases surpassed 10,000.

The campaign didn’t require attendees to maintain social distancing measures or wear masks, though the Trump administration’s top public health officials have stressed the importance of doing both. Campaign officials did require temperature checks and provided masks and hand sanitizer to rally goers. But reports and pictures of the rally show few people wearing face coverings as they sat in adjacent seats or stood shoulder to shoulder.

On Sunday, Wolf said because Oklahoma is in phase three of reopening — which allows further social interaction and unrestricted staffing of work sites — “activities like this are allowed.”

“It’s also a personal choice that people are making on the face coverings and where you are within that phase. So, again it’s very specific to individual states,” Wolf said.

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