Last week, data showed an alarming spike in Covid-19 infections across the United States. John Hopkins University revealed that the country experienced a 22 percent jump in positive cases compared to the week before which leaves us at an average of 65,700 new cases a day.
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The numbers have worried health officials. Center for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky issued an emotional statement where she appealed to Americans to continue following health and safety measures. Despite the rise in vaccination rates and the expansion of the eligibility criterion to receive the vaccine, contagious variants such as the B.1.1.7 are still circulating widely. Walensky said that she was “scared and felt impending doom,” about where the US was heading.
Before Walensky became the Director of the CDC, she was in trenches treating coronavirus patients. “I just can’t face another surge when there’s so much optimism right at our fingertips,” she told MSNBC.
Though she believes that the B.1.1.7 strain is neutralized by vaccines, there is still the threat of the virus circulating and mutating further. The key is to check the circulation of the virus with immediate effect.
However, this is easier said than done. Even though the CDC and health experts have been advising caution, at least a dozen governors have been easing Covid-19 related restrictions. Spring break crowds throng popular beaches, air travel has seen a surge and some governors have even eased mask mandates.
“We just don’t have enough vaccinations in people’s arms yet to be able to achieve the kind of herd immunity that we need,” said epidemiologist Dr. Abdul El Sayed.
Last week, the US averaged 989 deaths from the novel coronavirus. The country has a death toll that is higher than any other country in the world with more than 550,000 people dead.