Story at a glance
- The U.S. is recording a slight uptick in new COVID-19 infections.
- The current vaccination rate will not stop another outbreak from spreading in the U.S.
Following a triumphant national decline in new COVID-19 infections, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky confirmed that as of this week, cases are beginning to rise slightly to roughly 55,000 per day.
“I continue to be worried about the latest data and the apparent stall we are seeing in the trajectory of the pandemic,” she said during a White House press briefing on Wednesday.
The current seven-day average for new cases is roughly 3 percent higher than the previous week. Despite progress made regarding the vaccine rollout, lax public health protocols could quickly reverse any signs of a decline in infections, hospitalizations and deaths.
“We’ve made such extraordinary progress in the last several weeks, and if we choose to invest in prevention right now, we will ultimately come out of this pandemic faster and with fewer lives lost,” Walensky added.
Speaking alongside Chief White House Health Advisor Anthony Fauci, Walensky added that CDC officials were monitoring both the U.K. and South African variants of COVID-19, which are believed to be more transmissible than the original strain.
Given these mutations circulating and the recent social gatherings occurring as many college students are on their annual spring breaks, Walensky said that the current rate of vaccinations will not protect the U.S. from another outbreak.
“We’re at 13 percent,” she said, regarding how much of the country has been vaccinated. “We need to be much higher than that to feel like we have adequate protection around this country.”
Multiple states have begun issuing public health restriction rollbacks, such as revoking facial mask ordinances and lifting limitations on indoor dining, along with reopening schools.