The head of the CDC warned of a 'potential 4th surge' of COVID-19 cases, despite progress with vaccine rollouts

The head of the CDC warned of a 'potential 4th surge' of COVID-19 cases, despite progress with vaccine rollouts
Director of the Centers for Disease Control Rochelle Walensky speaking at a White House press briefing on March 1, 2021.White House/YouTube
  • The US is at risk of a "potential fourth surge" of virus cases, the CDC's top official said Monday.
  • She urged Americans to stick to CDC rules to avoid this and warned states against easing up.
  • The CDC gave emergency authorization to a third COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday.

The US risks a fourth surge of COVID-19 cases if people don't follow public-health recommendations, according to the top official at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Please hear me clearly: At this level of cases, with variants spreading, we stand to completely lose the hard-earned ground we have gained," Dr. Rochelle Walensky said at a White House press briefing on Monday.

Walensky, the CDC's director since January 20, said recent declines in cases in the US had been leveling off "at a very high number" of about 67,200 cases a day.
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The figure is a 2% uptick compared with the previous week.
The head of the CDC warned of a 'potential 4th surge' of COVID-19 cases, despite progress with vaccine rollouts
Daily new confirmed COVID-19 cases in the US as of Tuesday, according to data from John Hopkins University.Our World In Data

Walensky said she was "really worried" about states rolling back public-health measures recommended by the CDC.

"Now is not the time to relax the critical safeguards that we know can stop the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, not when we are so close," she said. "We have the ability to stop a potential fourth surge of cases in this country."
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Last week, President Joe Biden also warned against complacency in the face of variants spreading in the US.

All viruses mutate as they spread, but some mutations can help a virus infect people more efficiently. One concern among scientists is that uncontrolled spread of the coronavirus might allow more-dangerous variants to emerge before enough people are vaccinated. "Ultimately, vaccination is what will bring us out of this pandemic," Walensky said.
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On Friday, the Food and Drug administration gave the Johnson & Johnson single-shot jab emergency-use authorization in the US, where it joins the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.

"This means we now have three safe and highly effective vaccines that prevent serious illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19," Walensky said.

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