Story at a glance
- New COVID-19 cases have increased by 7 percent in week-over-week data.
- The U.K. variant is spreading nationwide, with more than 8,000 confirmed infections.
As the party continues in places like Miami Beach, Fla., among individuals who are enjoying Spring Break and early summer activity while COVID-19 vaccinations are expanding, public health officials warn that this behavior could reverse the progress the country has made so far.
Speaking during a press conference, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky gave an update on the COVID-19 situation in the U.S.
She noted that the most recent seven-day average is about 57,000 new cases per day, which represents a seven percent increase from the prior week.
An additional 1,000 deaths associated with COVID-19 infections are being recorded per day as well.
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“I remain deeply concerned about this trajectory. We have seen cases and hospitalizations from historic declines, to stagnations, to increases,” Walensky explained. “And we know from prior surges that if we don’t control things now, there is a real potential for the epidemic curve to soar again.”
Despite the country vaccinating a record number of roughly 2.6 million people per day, the presence of new COVID-19 mutations threatens to upend any burgeoning widespread immunity.
Walensky highlighted that one of these variants, B.1.1.7, commonly referred to as the U.K. variant, is the leading mutation spreading across the U.S. Walensky, and CDC data confirm that documented infections appear in 51 jurisdictions, totaling roughly 8,337 cases.
With an assumed transmission rate 50 percent stronger than the original COVID-19 pathogen, CDC researchers assume B.1.1.7 infections can be more severe.
During the same meeting, White House Coronavirus Advisor Anthony Fauci commented that the U.K. variant has the capability to become dominant.
“This has been a long year and I know people are tired and they don’t want to hear that it's going to take us a little while longer, but it's going to take us a little while longer,” Walensky concluded. She encouraged Americans to continue wearing masks and other mitigation strategies regardless of changes in state mandates.
“We just want to make sure we don’t end up in a surge that is truly avoidable.”
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