COVID cases up slightly as spring break threatens progress

“We just do not want have a rapid uptick in cases; we are behind the 8 ball when that happens,” said Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, today during a White House briefing, as she urged Americans to remain vigilant against COVID-19 and avoid unnecessary travel in the coming weeks.

The message came after a weekend of spring break revelry resulted in officials in Miami Beach declaring a state of emergency in response to a surge of maskless visitors, NPR reports.

The city’s mayor suspended outdoor dining after 7 pm and banned strolling on Ocean Drive after 8 pm.

“Now is not the time to travel,” Walensky said. “We can look at the surge that happened in Europe, and we do not want that to happen [here].”

Hospitalizations, deaths stay low

The 7-day average of newly reported COVID-19 cases climbed by 2.6% on Sunday, the Washington Post reports, but hospitalizations and deaths remained down.

The increase could signal that highly transmissible variants, including B117, could be starting to cause a fourth surge just as millions more Americans become eligible for COVID-19 vaccines. Three million Americans were vaccinated on each day this past weekend, a first, and millions of doses of Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose vaccine should be available to states in the next 10 days.

“We must act now and I am worried that if we don’t take the right actions now, we will have another avoidable surge,” Walensky said.

To that end, Walensky and Andy Slavitt, the White House senior advisor on pandemic response, urged Americans and businesses to adhere to mask wearing and physical distancing, even if and when individual states choose to remove mandates. And they urged all American adults to get the vaccine as soon as they are able.

 

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