Independent wrote:Coronavirus: Trump's health secretary says US has world's worst death toll because Americans are so unhealthy
'We have a significantly disproportionate burden of co-morbidities in the United States— obesity, hypertension, diabetes'
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar blamed the large number of US coronavirus cases and deaths on the number of Americans with “greater risk profiles” during an interview on Sunday.
Speaking on CNN’s State of the Union, Mr Azar was asked why the US appeared to have a disproportionately high number of deaths compared to the rest of the world.
He said that the reason lay in Americans having more comorbidities which puts them at a higher risk of developing severe complications if they contract Covid-19.
The population of the US has “significant unhealthy comorbidities that do make many individuals in our communities, in particular African American, minority communities, particularly at risk here, because of significant underlying disease, health disparities, and disease comorbidities,” Mr Azar told Jake Tapper.
“That is an unfortunate legacy in our healthcare system that we certainly do need to address,” Secretary Azar added.
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Asked to clarify whether he was blaming the American public for leading unhealthy lifestyles, Mr Azar said: “We have a significantly disproportionate burden of co-morbidities in the United States— obesity, hypertension, diabetes— these are demonstrated facts ... that do make us at risk for any type of disease burden.”
He later said: “One does not blame an individual for their health conditions, that would be absurd.”
Secretary Azar praised the way in which the response has kept the burden of the disease within the capacity of the healthcare system, even in hot spots such as New York.
“Every death is a tragedy, but the results could have been vastly, vastly worse,” Mr Azar said.
Mr Azar also argued that different testing policies between countries made it difficult to count the number of cases and that mortality rates were lower in the US than some other countries.
On Sunday the US had 1.48 million confirmed cases of Covid-19, and had officially recorded 89,207 deaths.
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