Secretary of Health and Human Services details approach for coronavirus

Alex Azar talks to "GMA" about the rapid spread of COVID-19, the tests being administered and why it’s vital to slow the spread of the respiratory illness, placing the impetus on public cooperation.
3:44 | 03/11/20

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Transcript for Secretary of Health and Human Services details approach for coronavirus
We're joined now by the secretary of health and human services, aex-azar. Thank you for joining us this as you heard, there are so many issues around testing here in the United States. How many Americans have been tested? How many will be tested and what does that likely mean for the number of cases here in the United States? So George, the key thing your viewers need to know is we have and always have had the capacity to test anybody who is suspected of novel coronavirus. We have tests available. Anyone under personal investigation, suspected by medical professionals or by public health officials is going to get tested. We'll get that data if they are Let's talk about the contamination Zones. Really a ban on any kind of large gatherings, and it was a sobering afternoon. How much more of this are we going to need, more of these containment measures will we need to prevent a big spike in cases? Yeah, George. We're going to see very aggressive efforts to mitigate and contain the situation. We commend New York and Washington. We're working with them closely, and, in fact, today we'll release the CDC's recommendations to jurisdictions that have had clusters, and we'll lean in as the vice president said. We're going to be always recommending aggressive measures because if we can slow the spread, if we can contain these clusters in certain communities, bring that speed down, the hope of course, is that like most respiratory diseases, as we get to warmer weather, as people disperse and just naturally distance themselves without directivities, et cetera, this can actually help slow things down so we're working always to buy time so that we mitigate impact here in the united States. Does that mean events like the NCAA tournament here are going to have to be rescheduled? I think any type of large gatherings have to be assessed by the organizers, but it has to be considered in community context. Each of us as individuals, we need to assess whether it makes sense for us to go to large gatherings. We have made it clear if you are elderly or medically fragile, generally of any age, you really should avoid large gatherings, or long travel. Certainly avoid getting on a cruise ship. So always think about your own situation, the circumstances of your community and the nature of what you are planning to do. You mention the time line. This all began in China of they're slowly turning things around there. Can you give people a sense of where we are here in the united States with that time line? Is this the beginning, the middle -- the beginning of the end? So, you know, China's gotten this very much -- very aggressive action. I think they had only 46 new cases the other day, but we're seeing a real explosion of cases in Europe. We're seeing increasing cases here in the United States which we have been clear we would see. We're still I would say in the beginnings of spread of this disease in the United States, but that's why we're taking such aggressive containment measures and order as well as mitigation steps in local communities. As I said, to try to slow the spread, we need to be really we have been clear from the start. We're going to see more cases. This is a virus. This will spread. We need to take steps to slow that, buy ourselves time. Every day we buy is a valuable day in terms of spreading and that's why aggressive efforts are needed and public cooperation is important. Secretary, thank you for your time this morning. Thank you, George. That was a sobering headline there. Just the beginnings of the spread here in the united We heard that loud and clear. Also the impact on the white

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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