CDC director warns of 'impending doom' on potential new COVID-19 surge

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday warned of "impending doom" over rising coronavirus cases, telling the public that even though vaccines are being rolled out quickly, a fourth surge could happen if people don't start taking precautions.

"I'm going to lose the script, and I'm going to reflect on the recurring feeling I have of impending doom. We have so much to look forward to so much promise and potential of where we are, and so much reason for hope. But right now I'm scared," CDC Director Rochelle WalenskyRochelle WalenskyCDC backtracks with new mask guidance Overnight Health Care: CDC advises vaccinated to wear masks in high-risk areas | Biden admin considering vaccine mandate for federal workers CDC: Vaccinated people should now wear masks in high transmission areas MORE said during a White House briefing Monday.

"We do not have the luxury of inaction," Walensky added.

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Walensky's warning comes a day after the United States surpassed 30 million cases of COVID-19, and cases are continuing to increase.

According to Walensky, the seven day average of new cases is around 60,000 cases per day, a 10 percent increase over the past week. The numbers are still a far cry from the peak in January, but the rise comes after a sustained period of stagnation. 

"When we see that uptick in cases, what we have seen before is that things really have a tendency to surge, and surge big," Walensky said.

Walensky said hospitalizations have also increased over the past week, as the most recent seven day average is about 4,800 admissions per day, up from 4,600 admissions per day in the prior seven days.

She said that the country has come "such a long way" with three authorized vaccines and pleaded with the nation to keep following mitigation measures and "just please hold on a little while longer."

The U.S. trends are mirroring what's happening in Europe, where nations are once again locking down amid a rapid increase in cases that is straining health care systems.

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Nearly one in five Americans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the CDC. States across the nation have been lifting restrictions, including capacity restraints and mask mandates. Travel is also increasing.

Walensky said she will speak to governors tomorrow to get them to "buckle down" and refrain from opening up too fast. 

Updated at 12:48 p.m.