Speaking at a press conference, United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky provided an update on the COVID-19 situation in the United States.
She noted that the most recent seven-day average is around 57,000 new cases per day, which is a 7% increase from the previous week.
A thousand more deaths associated with COVID-19 infections are also recorded every day.
“I remain deeply concerned about this trajectory. We have seen cases and hospitalizations ranging from historic declines, to stagnations, to increases, ”Walensky explained. “And we know from previous surges that if we don’t control things now, there is real potential for the epidemic curve to fly off again.”
Although the country vaccinates a record number of around 2.5 million people per day, the presence of new COVID-19 mutations threatens to upend any burgeoning widespread immunity.
Walensky pointed out that one of these variants, B.1.1.7, commonly known as the UK variant, is the main mutation that is spreading in the United States. Walensky and CDC data confirm that documented infections are appearing in 51 jurisdictions, totaling approximately 8,337 cases.
With a transmission rate assumed to be 50% higher than the original COVID-19 pathogen, CDC researchers speculate that B.1.1.7 infections may be more serious.
In the same meeting, Anthony Fauci, White House coronavirus adviser, said the UK variant has the ability to become dominant.
“It’s been a long year and I know people are tired and they don’t want to hear that it’s going to take us a little longer, but it’s going to take us a little longer,” concluded Walensky. She encouraged Americans to continue wearing masks and other mitigation strategies regardless of changes in state mandates.
“We just want to make sure that we don’t find ourselves in a wave that is really preventable.”