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White House Deputy Chief of Staff gives insight on rising COVID cases in Wyoming, potential vaccine and what’s in-store for the future

Published: Nov. 17, 2020 at 7:26 PM CST
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - Wyoming has seen a dramatic increase in positive COVID-19 cases. Currently, according to the data from the Wyoming Department of Health- there are 21,047 lab confirmed cases, 3,406 probable cases, 11,532 recovered and 155 deaths in the state. Since October, the state of Wyoming has had approximately three times the amount of cumulative cases.

With the recent surge, talks of mask mandates, and other drastic measures to help contain the virus have been in talks in communities throughout Wyoming. Tuesday morning, White House Deputy Chief of Staff Dr. John Fleming spoke with Wyoming News Now about his thoughts on a mask mandate in Wyoming. Dr. Fleming responded, “I certainly recommend mask use especially when there is considerable spread in the community. Certainly, throughout the Midwest, we are seeing an increase in cases." Dr. Fleming adds, Fortunately, the death rates have remained flat, we are seeing 3 per 100,00 deaths. of course, one death from COVID is one death too many. But, I think people in Wyoming and other states have learned better to live with this disease. As far as mandates for masks, I think that’s a case by case local community decision made by your leaders."

Dr. Fleming continues by stating, “We as adults should be responsible and whenever possible within a enclosed space or with crowds we should wear a mask and observe the three W’s beyond wearing masks. Washing hands, and watching your distance whenever possible, and certainly have event’s outside weather permitting especially for social gatherings.”

When Dr. Fleming was asked about a potential vaccine being readily effective and distributed in the near future. He responds, “The final phase of testing for both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have announced huge effectiveness. Pfizer at 90% effectiveness and that’s unbelievable and Moderna at nearly 95%.” He emphasizes, “This is on tens of thousands of volunteers. So, they both will be applying for emergency use authorization this month. We have already been producing a vaccine, so, we can have as much as twenty to forty million doses of vaccine distributed in the month of December.”

Lastly, we asked Dr. Fleming on his outlook of the barring question of just when, the American people can expect for things to return to normal. He responded, “I would say to you that probably by the end of the first quarter of 2021. America will be mostly back to normal." Dr. Fleming adds, “By then, we will have vaccinated millions of Americans, and as the vaccinations go up, then, the contagiousness, the spread of this very contagious infection will decline very rapidly. I can see America opening up completely and back to normal certainly by the second quarter of next year.”

Dr. Fleming also commended the Trump Administration for Operation: Warp Speed in their unprecedented results in creating potentially two vaccines in less than a year.

Though Dr. Fleming is optimistic about the future of America in combating the coronavirus. He still reminds Americans to be responsible and vigilant in the days to come.

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