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CDC director: US seeing 'hopeful decline' in COVID-19 cases

CDC director: US seeing 'hopeful decline' in COVID-19 cases
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The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday said that the U.S. is seeing a “hopeful decline” in COVID-19 cases, signaling the vaccination effort might be contributing to the trend.

During a press briefing, Rochelle WalenskyRochelle WalenskyTop CDC official who warned of pandemic disruption will resign CDC director: Vaccinated adolescents can remove masks outdoors at summer camps CDC: COVID-19 cases, deaths projected to drop sharply in mid-July MORE called attention to declines in the seven-day averages of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths. 

The U.S. saw a 21 percent drop in daily confirmed infections to 54,400 cases per day compared with the previous seven-day average. Hospitalizations also fell by 9 percent to a seven-day average of 5,100. The average for deaths reached 660 per day, amounting to a 6 percent decrease. 

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Walensky suggested that the rollout of the vaccine across the country may explain the “stabilizing” of the curve in cases. 

“Each day, more and more Americans are rolling up their sleeves and getting vaccinated and likely contributing to these very positive trends,” she said during the briefing.

As of Tuesday morning, almost 140 million adults, or 54 percent, have received at least one shot, and more than 96 million, or 37 percent, are considered fully vaccinated, according to CDC data.  

The positive downward trends came on the same day that the CDC announced new mask guidance for fully vaccinated individuals, saying they can be outside without a mask in small groups and uncrowded areas. 

“I hope this message is encouraging for you,” she said. “It shows just how powerful these vaccines are in our efforts to end this pandemic and why we are asking everyone to roll up their sleeves and get vaccinated.”

The good news comes in contrast to Walensky’s message a few weeks ago warning of “impending doom” and a potential surge of COVID-19.

Still, most counties across the country have high, very high or extremely high risk levels for contracting COVID-19, and hot spots remain in Michigan, Oregon, Texas, Colorado and Virginia, according to data from The New York Times.