Story at a glance

  • CDC Director Rochelle Walensky on Monday said the latest data show cases in the U.S. appear to be stalling around 70,000 new cases per day with nearly 2,000 deaths after a steep decline over the past several weeks.
  • “With these new statistics, I am really worried about reports that more states are rolling back the exact public health measures we have recommended to protect people from COVID-19,” she said.
  • “Now is not the time to relax the critical safeguards that we know can stop the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, not when we are so close,” she added.

The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says she remains “deeply concerned” about a possible shift in the trajectory of the coronavirus pandemic as the decline of cases and deaths in the U.S. has stalled, states have started rolling back restrictions and new variants are spreading. 

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky on Monday said the latest data show cases in the U.S. appear to be stalling around 70,000 new cases per day with nearly 2,000 deaths after a steep decline over the past several weeks. Walensky said the most recent seven-day average of cases and deaths has increased about 2 percent from the previous week.


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“With these new statistics, I am really worried about reports that more states are rolling back the exact public health measures we have recommended to protect people from COVID-19,” Walensky said during a White House COVID-19 briefing Monday. 

“Please hear me clearly: At this level of cases with variants spreading we stand to completely lose the hard-earned ground we have gained. These variants are a very real threat to our people and our progress,” she said. 

“Now is not the time to relax the critical safeguards that we know can stop the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, not when we are so close,” she added. 

As cases have seen a dramatic drop over the past few months, some governors around the U.S. have started relaxing pandemic restrictions. Massachusetts on Monday began allowing indoor venues such as concert halls and theaters to open at 50 percent capacity, while restaurants in Arkansas are now allowed to operate at 100 percent capacity. Several other states have made similar changes. 

Meanwhile, several COVID-19 variants are making their way through the U.S. causing concern among public health experts that they could reverse the downward trajectory of infections in the U.S. 

White House Chief Medical Advisor Anthony Fauci said the administration is taking a variant, B.1.526, first identified in New York City, very seriously. The variant first emerged in November and carries a mutation that could weaken the effectiveness of vaccines, according to The New York Times

Health officials are also monitoring strains believed to be more contagious, including those first identified in the U.K., South Africa and Brazil. 


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Published on Mar 01, 2021