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Health Officials Warn of Fourth Wave while US Vaccinations Break Records

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky asked Americans last Monday not to let their guard down. She said she has a continuous feeling of “impending doom”.

What We Know:

  • Walensky made this statement during a virtual White House briefing. She discussed her fear that a fourth wave of the coronavirus may be entering the United States. Recently, daily COVID-19 cases have risen to 10% or about 60,000 cases per day. Additionally, an upward trend in hospitalizations and deaths has also been seen.
  • Walensky seemed sincere in her announcement as she became emotional and appeared to hold back tears. She wants Americans to stay patient and get vaccinated. The CDC Director emphasized that when cases start rising, they “surge and surge big” right after.

“I’m speaking today not necessarily as your CDC director and not only as your CDC director, but as a wife, as a mother, as a daughter, to ask you to just please hold on a little while longer,” urged Walensky.

  • The boost in coronavirus occurrences has been seen in Northeastern states like Michigan, New York, and New Jersey. It is partially because new variants of the virus, like the UK’s B.1.1.7, have become more widespread. Another reason for the higher number is the loosening travel restrictions. Additionally, the opening of states is exposing more people to the disease.
  • ABC News states that despite the rapid pace of vaccinations, Americans cannot afford to become comfortable. If measures like testing, mask-wearing, social distancing, and more do not get enforced, a fourth wave will occur. However, since 71.8% of Americans 65 years or older have taken at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, a fourth wave will have fewer hospitalizations and deaths. Neil J. Seghal, Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Management at the University of Maryland School of Public Health, told the news site that due to the vaccinations, the next surge in cases would not be as deadly as those after the winter holidays.
  • Although forty-seven states and Washington, D.C. have declared that residents over the age of 16 may soon begin to get vaccinated, there are still vulnerable population groups awaiting their shots. These include seniors who haven’t gotten the vaccine and people with pre-existing health conditions who are still ineligible.
  • Seghal is afraid that younger people will face serious consequences from the coronavirus. Rachel Baker, an epidemiologist at Princeton University, found a connection in risk of future outbreaks to the strength of social distancing measures. She said that regions with less vaccination coverage should not begin to ease their restrictions just yet.

President Joe Biden and Dr. Anthony Fauci have defended Walensky’s statements. Biden has said that the country can not celebrate just yet because citizens must “fight to the finish.” Fauci declared that the US has to be patient and hopes there is not another increase because officials “are really doing things prematurely right now with regard to opening up.”

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