Given that COVID-19 variants are “a growing proportion” of cases in the US, and we could see “another preventable wave” of the virus as in Europe if mitigation efforts go out the window, the director warned. from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Monday.
Two recently identified variants, B.1427 and B.1429, are estimated to account for about 52 percent of COVID-19 cases in California, 41 percent in Nevada, and 25 percent in Arizona, said Dr. Rochelle Walensky during a press conference at the White House. .
The B.1.1.7 variant, first identified in the UK, is believed to account for 9 percent of infections in New Jersey and 8 percent of those in Florida.
In New York City, the local strain B.1.526 and the UK variant together account for 51 percent of cases, local authorities said this month.
“The continued relaxation of prevention measures while cases are still high, and while worrisome variants are spreading rapidly throughout the United States, it is a serious threat to the progress we have made as a nation,” Walensky said.
“I get it, we all want to get back to our day-to-day activities and spend time with our family, friends and loved ones,” Walensky said, “but we must find the strength to endure a little longer.”
The nation is “at a critical point in this pandemic,” the CDC director warned.
“We as a country must decide which path we are going to take. We must act now, ”Walensky said.
“I am concerned that if we don’t take the right steps now, we will have another preventable increase, as we are seeing in Europe right now and just as we are increasing vaccination so aggressively.
Several European countries, including France and Italy, have reinstated lockdown measures as the new variants fuel a third wave of infections on the continent.
Walensky said the Biden administration was encouraging governors and the private sector to maintain or reimpose preventive measures.
“We are reaching out to the states, territories to encourage them to look at their case data, to see what is happening with the variants and to do all the outreach we can to try to stop the relaxation,” he said.