Coronavirus cases are again surging as the more transmissible delta variant spreads in unvaccinated communities and poses new challenges for the country’s health system. Rachel L. Levine, MD, the assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services, joins Washington Post Live to address her agency’s efforts to increase vaccinations among Americans of all ages and other health issues facing the country, including life expectancy in the U.S. dropping to its lowest level in almost two decades.

Highlights

Rachel Levine, the assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services, says the delta variant is at least twice as contagious as previous forms of covid-19. “The delta variant has been shown to be more transmissible. It’s at least twice as contagious than previous forms of covid-19 that we have seen…Because of this more contagious variant the CDC has changed its guidance on masking.” (Washington Post Live)
Rachel Levine, the assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services, says there are clinical trials going on right now studying the use of coronavirus vaccines on children under 12. “We hope to have the complete clinical trials by the end of the year.” (Washington Post Live)
Rachel Levine, the assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services, says what the fall will look like will depend on the success of the country’s vaccination program. “I think the prospects for the fall could be very challenging, however, if we are able to continue to ramp up our vaccination program that’s the most important way to protect people in the fall.” (Washington Post Live)

Rachel L. Levine, MD

Dr. Rachel L. Levine serves as the 17th Assistant Secretary for Health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) where she fights every day to improve the health and well-being of all Americans. She’s working to help our nation overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and build a stronger foundation for a healthier future - one in which every American can attain their full health potential. Dr. Levine’s storied career, first in academic medicine, and as a physician then Pennsylvania’s Physician General and then as Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Health, has focused on the intersection between mental and physical health, often treating children, adolescents, and young adults.