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CDC Chief Just Issued This Pleading Warning

"We are still facing a high overall burden of disease."
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

CDC Chief Dr. Rochelle Walensky appeared moments ago at a COVID press briefing with a message—and a warning. Although hospitalizations and deaths aren't rising as high as cases, many, many Americans are needlessly dying, and it could happen to someone you know. "It's vital that we all remain vigilant in the face of this virus," she cautioned. "I know many people are tired, but many of our hospitals are still struggling beyond capacity. It's been a long two years. However, please now do your part to lean into this current moment." For what that is, read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


CDC Chief Said Deaths are Going Up

Elderly woman wearing oxygen mask sleeping in hospital bed

"The current seven day daily average of cases is about 692,400 cases per day," said Dr. Walensky. "A decrease of about 6% over the previous week. The seven day average of hospital admissions is about 19,800 per day, a decrease of about 8% over the prior week. And the seven day average daily deaths are about 2,200 per day, which is an increase of about 21%." The somewhat better news? "CDC released a new report that details the severity Omicron in comparison to other variants. Similar to our prior report, these data demonstrate that COVID-19 disease severity appears to be lower with the Omicron variant than with prior variants….While cases have dramatically increased and are five times higher than they were during the Delta wave hospitalizations have not increased at the same rate and deaths remain low in comparison to the case counts." However, there is a big BUT and reason to be concerned—read on.


CDC Chief Warned "Milder Does Not Mean Mild"

Doctor and nurse are moving injured patient from an accident on a gurney to the emergency operating room.

"Although it's encouraging that Omicron appears to be causing less severe disease, it's important to remember that we are still facing a high overall burden of disease," said Dr. Walensky. "Hospitalizations have rapidly increased in a short amount of time putting a strain on many local health systems. Importantly, milder does not mean mild. We cannot look past the strain on our health systems and substantial number of deaths."


We May Be Building Immunity as a Country

Young woman taking a vaccine from her doctor.

"When looking across these three periods though of high transmission in the pandemic, you can see that while the number of hospitalizations is higher now than we have ever previously seen, the ratio of hospitalizations to cases remains lower than prior peaks," said Dr. Walensky. "When we look at other disease severity indicators, measured among people who are hospitalized with COVID-19, such as hospital length of stay ICU, admissions and deaths—these indicators are lower with Omicron than during previous periods of high transmission. And this is likely attributable to two key factors. First, many people in our country have some level of immunity from vaccination and boosters or from previous infection. And second it's likely that Omicron is less severe than prior variants."


CDC Chief Said She Knows You're Tired But We Have to Stay Vigilant

Close up shot of hands checking Covid-19 vaccine report card and ticking 3rd or booster dose after vaccination.

"Please remember the importance of our prevention measures, including vaccination and boosters," said Dr. Walensky. "Last week, I highlighted three publications that the effectiveness of booster doses in protecting against the variant. It is of critical importance that the people remain that people remain up to date on CDC's recommended COVID-19 vaccinations. It's vital that we all remain vigilant in the face of this virus. I know many people are tired, but many of our hospitals are still struggling beyond capacity. It's been a long two years. However, please now do your part to lean into this current moment. Now is the time to do what we know works, wear a mask, get vaccinated and get boosted."


How to Stay Safe Out There

Medic, nurse with face mask and blue nitride gloves sharing a N95 mask.

Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated or boosted ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, 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, 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.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more about Alek
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