Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said on Thursday’s “Today” show that the US “continues to see about 1,000 deaths a day,” which which he pointed out that there were too many.
As for the number of infections per day, Walensky said: “What worries me is the constant flow of 50,000, 60,000, and we continue to see that even today.”
Walensky pointed to the first signs that vaccines are working, citing declining death rates for people 65 and older. However, more infectious variants of Covid-19 are circulating, he warned.
The focus now is to vaccinate enough Americans to avoid sudden increases in infections and hospitalizations.
Even for those who are fully vaccinated, Wen said more precautions should be followed when interacting with other people.
“We know that right now when there is such a high level of coronavirus that is circulating in our communities, that even people who are fully vaccinated where they are in public with others who are not vaccinated, that it is courteous and the right thing for them to do from the infection control point of view is to wear a mask, “Wen said.
Warning Signs Remain As States Expand Vaccine Eligibility
While states and vaccine distributors push to vaccinate as many adults as possible, the latest screening from the University of Washington is a reminder of what is to come for the nation.
At least 600,000 people will have been killed by Covid-19 by July 1, according to the university’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, meaning some 59,000 people will die in the next three months. The IHME says 10,000 lives could be saved if mask use increased from the current 75% to 95% of the population.
“Most states in the northern half of the country now have increasing transmission, with the steepest increases in Michigan. The increases are likely related to the combination of the spread of variant B.1.1.7 and the recent increases in mobility, “it said.
With increases in vaccine supplies, states are opening up eligibility to more adults to receive vaccines.
Minnesota, Connecticut, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Florida and California recently announced that adults of almost all ages will receive the green light for vaccinations in mid-April.
Six states have already expanded eligibility for the coronavirus vaccine to anyone 16 and older, according to a recent CNN tally, and at least 26 more plan to open to people 16 and older by the end of April.
Vaccines are being tested for children
Meanwhile, drug companies are beginning to test the efficacy of vaccinating children, which would be another layer of defense against a surge in infections as school districts await full in-person learning.
Moderna last week announced its next phase in pediatric vaccine trials, enrolling children in the US and Canada ages 6 months to 11 years.
Vaccines for pregnant women can also provide benefits, as Dr. Wen told CNN on Thursday.
“There is accumulating evidence for the safety and efficacy of vaccines for pregnant women,” he said. “Initially, in clinical trials, pregnant and lactating people were not included. But since then, we have had thousands of pregnant women who choose to get vaccinated.
“There have been no adverse safety signs or safety concerns in the thousands of women who have taken the vaccine so far. And now there is growing evidence that they also generate a strong immune response that protects them. In fact, the antibodies that are produced they appear to cross the placental barrier and are also secreted into breast milk and can protect the newborn, “Wen said.
“If I was pregnant right now, I would discuss it with my doctor, but I would probably choose to get vaccinated.”