America’s long stretch of dwindling coronavirus cases has stalled, and rapid increases in some states could count for more than ongoing declines in others. U.S. health officials expressed concern Wednesday about the plateau and refused to say the nation has turned the corner on the coronavirus pandemic.
“I continue to be worried about the latest data and the apparent stall we see in the trajectory of the pandemic,” Dr Rochelle Walensky, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said during a White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing.
The U.S. reports a seven-day average of about 55,000 new cases per day, up 3% from the previous week. The country is also reporting about 4,600 new hospitalizations and nearly 1,000 deaths per day, Walensky said. And the U.S. surpassed 30 million coronavirus cases Wednesday afternoon, once again reaching a dubious milestone much faster than any other country.
“When you’re at that level, I don’t think you can declare victory,” Dr Anthony Fauci said during the briefing. “We are at the corner. Whether or not we’re going to be turning that corner remains to be seen.”
On the one hand, about 2.5 million Americans are being vaccinated each day, according to Andy Slavitt, White House senior adviser for COVID-19 response. And data on frontline healthcare workers in Texas, California, and Israel suggest COVID-19 vaccines effectively prevent coronavirus infections in real-world settings, according to three new studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine Tuesday.
But spring breakers are shirking COVID restrictions, and states are lifting masking restrictions. Utah’s mask mandate will end April 10 after Republican Gov. Spencer Cox signed a bill that lays out a new timeline for lifting some of the state’s COVID-19 restrictions.