The CDC Just Issued This Urgent Warning About COVID
After several months of devastating surges of COVID-19, in recent weeks the numbers of infections, hospitalizations, and deaths have started to drop. However, it isn't time to celebrate the end of the pandemic quite yet. Health experts have been predicting that new, more transmissible variants could result in another uptick of cases. And, at Friday's White House COVID-19 Response Team Briefing, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), revealed that this is likely happening already, and issued a strong warning. Read on to find out what she had to say—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
Warning #1: Dr. Walensky Said Cases are "Still at a Very High Number"
She started off by acknowledging the decline in cases and hospital admissions over the last month or so, with deaths declining over the last week. However, she revealed that the trend is starting to turn around. "The latest data suggests that these declines may be stalling, potentially leveling off at still a very high number," she said, adding that the CDC considers it "a very concerning shift in the trajectory."
Warning #2: Dr. Walensky Warned Cases are Increasing
"The most recent seven day average of cases, approximately 66,350, is higher than the average I shared with you on Wednesday," she continued. "In fact, cases have been increasing for the past three days compared to the prior week. And while deaths tend to fluctuate more than cases and hospital admissions, the most recent seven day average, approximately 2,000 per day, is slightly higher than the seven day average earlier in the week."
Dr. Walensky said the CDC is "watching" this "concerning data very closely to see where they will go over the next few days," but pointed out that they are an "important" reminder "to remember where we are in the pandemic."
Warning #3: Dr. Walensky Said "Now is Not the Time to Relax Restrictions"
"Things are tenuous. Now is not the time to relax restrictions," she said. "Although we've been experiencing large declines in cases in admissions over the past six weeks, these declines follow the highest peak we have experienced in the pandemic. So I want to be clear: Cases, hospital admissions and deaths all remain very high. And the recent shift in the pandemic must be taken extremely seriously."
Warning #4: Dr. Walensky Warned of the New COVID Variants Being "More Transmissible"
Additionally, the latest variants are of additional concern. "CDC has been sounding the alarm about the continued spread of variants in the United States, predicting the variants such as the B117 variant, which is thought to be about 40%, 50% more transmissible" would become the predominant variant of COVID-19 by mid-March. "We may now be seeing the beginning effects of these variants in the most recent data. Our estimates now indicate that B117 accounts for approximately 10% of cases in the United States up from one to 4%, a few weeks ago, and prevalence is even higher in certain areas of the country."
With the addition of new variants identified in California and New York, everyone needs to do their part to end the pandemic. "We may be done with the virus, but clearly the virus is not done with us," she warned. "We cannot get comfortable or give in to a false sense of security that the worst of the pandemic is behind us. Not now, not when mass vaccination is so very close, when what we need to prevent, this is truly imminent. We must continue to be vigilant and committed to consistently taking the steps we work to stop the spread of COVID-19."
Warning #5: Dr. Walensky Said It's Up to Us to End the Pandemic
"Where the pandemic goes from here is dependent on our collective behavior and resolve to do our part, to protect ourselves, our families and our communities. Together we have the capacity to avoid another surge in our mainstream," she continued. "I know people are tired. They want to get back to life normal, but we're not there yet. Give us the time we need to get more vaccines into our communities and to get more people vaccinated. This is our path out. Here in the United States, over 46 million people or 14% of the population have already received at least one dose of the vaccine. And so many more of you are ready to roll up your sleeves as soon as the vaccine becomes available to you. And indeed more vaccine is on the way."
So follow the CDC's fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—wear a face mask that fits snugly and is double layered, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.