Despite the fact that many people feel optimistic thanks to vaccinations against COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a reminder for the public they hope will stick with us: The pandemic isn't over just yet. During a White House COVID-19 press briefing on Monday, Rochelle Walensky, MD, the director of the CDC, warned of "impending doom" as positive coronavirus cases continue to rise throughout the U.S.
"When I first started at CDC about two months ago, I made a promise to you: I would tell you the truth even if it was not the news we wanted to hear," Dr. Walensky said. "Now is one of those times when I have to share the truth, and I have to hope and trust you will listen." With emotion in her voice, she described her feeling of doom as "recurring" and admitted that "right now, I'm scared."
The daily average number of new coronavirus cases in the U.S. reached 63,204 yesterday, according to The New York Times, which is a 3% increase from the day before. Intelligencer reported that nationwide hospitalizations have also increased to about 4,800 a day, up from 4,600 a day the week before. The daily average for deaths in the past seven days is approximately 1,000.
The rise in cases comes as states such as Texas continue to relax restrictions and people are traveling more: The spring break crowds in Florida are just one example. But Dr. Walensky advised people to stay cautious just a little longer.
"I'm speaking today [...] to ask you to just please hold on a little while longer," Dr. Walensky continued. "I so badly want to be done. I know you all so badly want to be done."
She also urged the public to continue getting vaccinated before using Europe's recent boom in positive coronavirus cases as a cautionary tale for what could happen in the States if we're not careful.
"The trajectory of the pandemic in the United States looks similar to many other countries in Europe, including Germany, Italy, and France [...] those countries have experienced a consistent and worrying spike in cases," Dr. Walensky said. "We are not powerless. We can change this trajectory of the pandemic, but it will take all of us recommitting to following the public health prevention strategies consistently while we work to get the American public vaccinated."
Dr. Walensky went on to urge politicians and other leaders to "sound the alarm" and spread messages of safety and common sense, before noting that "we do not have the luxury of inaction."