Story at a glance

  • Public health officials are concerned the stall in the decline plus the spread of new variants and easing of restrictions by states could bring on another surge.
  • “The issue is that we are starting to plateau. That plateau is about 60,000 to 70,000 cases a day. When you have that much viral activity in a plateau, it almost invariably means that you are at risk of another spike,” Fauci said during a White House COVID-19 briefing Friday.
  • According to the CDC, more than 82 million coronavirus vaccine doses have been administered across the country so far.

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), is warning about another possible spike in COVID-19 infections in the U.S. as the number of new cases has plateaued at a rate health officials say is still too high. 

Cases in the U.S. continue to fluctuate around 60,000 to 70,000 per day after a steep decline of cases over the past several weeks following the record-high holiday surge. Daily coronavirus deaths are hovering around the 2,000 mark. 


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Public health officials are concerned the stall in the decline plus the spread of new variants and easing of restrictions by states could bring on another surge. 

Fauci pointed out that after the first surge in the spring, cases spiked then leveled out around 20,000 before a second wave hit in July, peaking around the 70,000 mark. Cases then plateaued around 40,000 before the U.S. began recording hundreds of thousands of new cases per day through the winter. 

“The issue is that we are starting to plateau. That plateau is about 60,000 to 70,000 cases a day. When you have that much viral activity in a plateau, it almost invariably means that you are at risk of another spike,” Fauci said during a White House COVID-19 briefing Friday. 

“Many countries in Europe have seen just that. They had a decrease in cases over a six-week period. They plateaued. And now, over the past week, they saw an increase in cases by 9 percent, something we desperately want to avoid,” he said. 

Fauci’s warning comes as multiple states have started rolling back restrictions to curb the spread of the virus despite recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) not to do so. Both Texas and Mississippi this week announced they were doing away with mask mandates and are allowing businesses to reopen to 100 percent capacity. 

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky on Friday said the number of cases and deaths in the U.S. are still too high and urged Americans to double down on prevention measures. 

“I know the idea of relaxing mask wearing and getting back to everyday activities is appealing, but we’re not there yet. And we have been — we have seen this movie before: When prevention measures like mask mandates are rolled back, cases go up,” Walenksy said Friday

The warnings come as the U.S. has had some promising news on the vaccine front. The Biden administration this week announced it will have enough vaccine supply to vaccinate all American adults for the coronavirus by May, sooner than the administration’s previous estimate of securing the doses by July. 

Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot vaccine has also received emergency approval from the Food and Drug Administration. 

According to the CDC, more than 82 million doses have been administered across the country so far. 


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Published on Mar 05, 2021