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Walensky: 'We can't let our guard down' even though virus numbers are dropping

Walensky: 'We can't let our guard down' even though virus numbers are dropping
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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle WalenskyRochelle WalenskyWhite House on Whitmer's handling of pandemic: She's shown 'serious' grit The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - Biden, lawmakers start down a road with infrastructure Michigan's spike highlights fatigue over restrictions MORE said Sunday that despite decreasing coronavirus numbers, “we can’t let our guard down” on mitigation efforts.

“We've known now that this B117 variant, the variant that came from the U.K., we have over 1,000 cases here in the United States in over 30 states,” she said on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” referencing a more infectious strain of the virus. “We know the early data have demonstrated that it is around 40 percent to 50 percent more transmissible already. That means we're likely to have more cases and more deaths from this.”

“And now these early data that have come from a prior set of early data have suggested that there might, in fact, be increased morbidity and mortality,” she added. “All of it is really wraps up into we can't let our guard down. We have to continue wearing masks. We have to continue with our current mitigation measures. And we have to continue getting vaccinated as soon as that vaccine is available to us.”

Asked if states that are ending their mask mandates are doing so prematurely, Walensky replied, “absolutely.”

“We are still at about 100,000 cases a day. We are still at around 1,500 to 3,500 deaths per day. The cases are more than two and a half fold times what we saw over the summer,” she said.

While Walensky said the downward trend was “encouraging,” she noted that “they're coming down from an extraordinarily high place.”

“[I]]f we want to get our children back to school, and I believe we all do, it all depends on how much community spread is out there,” she said. “We need to all take responsibility to decrease that community spread, including mask wearing so that we can get our kids and our society back.”