Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), speaks during a House Select subcommittee on the coronavirus crisis hearing in Washington, DC, July 31, 2020.
Erin Scott | Pool | Reuters
The US could bring the coronavirus pandemic under control if most Americans wear masks, social distant themselves, and practice good hand hygiene for up to three months, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.
"It's in our hands, within our reach," CDC Director Robert Redfield told reporters on a conference call. "But we all have to take these mitigation measures. And we have to go through these four, six, eight, ten, twelve weeks and then we'll see this outbreak under control."
At least 90% of Americans are required to wear masks, social distancing, and wash their hands regularly, he said.
"I think we've been seeing progress in the past four weeks. I hope the progress continues, but I don't think any of us should turn away from realizing that the key that each of us realize is that we are want to make sure that Covid stops with us. " " he said.
The US reported more than 44,000 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday, which represents an 11% decrease in the 7-day average of new cases every day compared to last week, according to a CNBC analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University.
Redfield said Thursday that coronavirus deaths, which have stayed above the average of 1,000 a day since late July, are expected to decline over the next week as the number of new cases has declined steadily for around the same time. Deaths tend to delay new infections by a few weeks.
The CDC predicts deaths in Arizona, Florida, Mississippi, and South Carolina will fall over the next four weeks, while the agency's website is forecasting deaths to rise in Minnesota.
During the conference call, Redfield urged parents to get their children vaccinated against influenza as public health officials fear the seasonal flu could further complicate the fall coronavirus pandemic. Health officials had hoped the coronavirus would subside in the summer months, but that didn't happen.
At the same time, Redfield, who said he had 11 grandchildren, was pushing for schools to reopen.
Earlier, he warned of "significant public health consequences" including spike in youth drug use and suicide if schools do not reopen in the fall.
"I think the most important thing about all school openings is that we need to have trust in teachers and parents so that they can come back, so that they can reopen and stay open," he said. "I am very confident that my grandchildren can go back to school and do so in a safe and sensible way."