The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned “impending doom” saying a fourth surge of the virus is expected. President Biden called on mayors and governors on Monday to ask them to reinstate mask mandates.
C.D.C. director, Dr Rochelle Walensky, was in tears when she was asking Americans to “hold on a little while longer” while urging everyone to follow health advice, social distancing, wearing masks to stop the spread of the virus. The appeals by the President and the C.D.C. director, back to back has the White House staff and scientists on an urgency that maybe the chance to stop the pandemic is slipping through. Covid infections and deaths have been rising even as vaccinations are being made available.
President Biden said “Please, this is not politics — reinstate the mandate. The failure to take this virus seriously is precisely what got us into this mess in the first place.” As per the New York Times data, a weekly average of new cases was 63000 on Sunday which is similar to case numbers in October 2020. Two weeks ago the average for new cases was 54000. Dr Walensky said this is an increase of more than 16 per cent. Europe had seen similar upticks which led to huge surges. Public health officials are worried that America is in a war, between vaccinations and the new coronavirus variants. One in three Americans has received at least one vaccination shot and almost 1/5th of Americans are vaccinated. Herd Immunity is far away though, the US will have achieved herd immunity when 70 to 90 per cent of the population is immune to the virus.
States are providing more access to vaccinations. Texas, Louisiana, Ohio, Kansas, North Dakota and Oklahoma all opened vaccinations for all adults on Monday. New York-based citizens will be eligible from April 6. President Biden said the government was working on increasing vaccine eligibility and access and working on opening more than a dozen mass vaccination centres. He has claimed that his virus response team is working on making sure 90 per cent of Americans are within 5 miles from at least one vaccination site by April 19. The President has said that by April 19, vaccinations will be available for 9 out of 10 Americans and they will be eligible to receive the shot. He had earlier called on states to expand eligibility by May 1. The states however with more vaccine shipments coming in have opened vaccination accessibility and programs earlier than expected.
Dr Joshua M. Sharfstein, a former top Food and Drug Administration official who is a teacher at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health said “There is something particularly difficult about this moment,” He said “it feels like every case is unnecessary” because more Americans are being vaccinated every day and we are so close to ending the pandemic.
Dr Walensky, who has issued many warnings about social distancing and mask-wearing said she is planning to talk to governors about why they should not lift restrictions prematurely. She said, “I know you all so badly want to be done. We are just almost there, but not quite yet.”