CDC director is ‘really concerned’ about states rolling back Covid measures as cases appear to stabilize

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Chip Somodevilla | fake images

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday that she is “really concerned” that some states will roll back public health measures aimed at containing the coronavirus pandemic, as cases in the United States appear to be stabilizing. in a “very high number”.

The declines in Covid-19 cases seen since early January now appear to be stagnant at around 70,000 new cases a day, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said during a press conference at the White House. “With these statistics, I am truly concerned that more states will roll back the exact public health measures that we have recommended to protect people from Covid-19.”

“Seventy thousand cases a day seems good compared to where we were a few months ago,” he said. “Please hear me out clearly: At this level of expanding variant cases, we may completely lose our hard-won ground.”

The United States is registering at least 67,300 new cases of Covid-19 each day, based on a seven-day average calculated by CNBC using data from Johns Hopkins University. The United States peaked with about 250,000 cases a day in early January after the winter break.

Senior US health officials, including Walensky and White House Chief Medical Adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci, have warned in recent weeks that the rise in more contagious variants could reverse the current downward trajectory of infections in And delay the country’s recovery from the pandemic.

As of Sunday, the CDC has identified 2,400 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant, first identified in the U.K. The agency has identified 53 cases of the B.1.351 strain from South Africa, as well as 10 cases of P. 1, a variant identified for the first time in Brazil.

Fauci said Monday that US health officials are also closely monitoring another variant in New York that carries mutations that help it evade the body’s natural immune response.

Officials say viruses cannot mutate if they cannot infect hosts and replicate. They are also pushing Americans to get vaccinated as quickly as possible before potentially new and even more dangerous variants continue to emerge.

Walensky said Monday that the vaccines will help the US emerge from the pandemic, touting that the Food and Drug Administration has cleared Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use, making it the third. vaccine approved for distribution in the US and the only vaccine that requires a single dose. Walensky approved the vaccine on Sunday.

The J&J vaccine is a “much-needed addition to our toolbox,” he said, adding that the authorization will make it possible for more people to get vaccinated.


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