Biden COVID-19 adviser on drop in cases: Time has not come ‘to breathe a sigh of relief’


A top aide to President Biden said on Tuesday that Americans and public health experts should not take a recent decline in daily coronavirus cases and hospitalizations as a signal to relax as the government works to get the pandemic under control. 

“None of us can predict the future. All we can do is control what we can control,” Andy Slavitt, a White House senior adviser for coronavirus response, said on CNN’s “New Day.”

“We need to double down on wearing masks. Now is not the time to look at those curves and, in my view, breathe a sigh of relief,” he said. “We have a ways to go. We know this thing has been unpredictable for the last year.” 

Slavitt cautioned the pandemic will remain “unpredictable” and is likely to “have some surprises for us.” 

“We are going to get there,” he said. “But I wouldn’t advise people to quit early.” 

Public health experts have said herd immunity achieved through an aggressive nationwide mass vaccination effort is the only way in which the pandemic will be defeated. 

In the meantime, Biden and his health team have pleaded with all Americans to remain vigilant in following public health measures like wearing a face covering whenever near others, practicing safe social distancing and refraining from gathering in public. 

The administration has promised to roll out 100 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine during the president’s first 100 days in office, starting with front-line health care workers, older Americans and those with pre-existing medical conditions. 

Public health experts have also warned that the virus has mutated over the last year, creating variants that are thought to be more contagious and potentially more deadly. Several variant strains have been confirmed in states around the country.

“The variants are kind of like a wave under the surface,” Slavitt said on Tuesday. “And the visibility that we have shows that these variants can grow quite quickly. It’s going to depend a large part on people’s behavior.” 

Pressed on whether the Biden administration is bracing for another spike in cases, Slavitt said he is preparing for “all scenarios” because it’s his job. 

“None of us can predict the future,” he repeated. “But what we can do is control is the things we can all control and that should be comforting … should we have a wave, our hope is, many more people will be protected than the last wave we had.” 

Tags Andy Slavitt Joe Biden Joe Biden Pandemic

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