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March 15, 2021: On Sunday, White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci warned state leaders that the nation’s fight against the coronavirus is still “not in the end zone” and urged America’s people to adhere to public health measures as Europeans experience new infection spikes.
“When I hear pulling back completely on public health measures, saying no more masks, no nothing like that, that is risky business,” Fauci said during an interview.
“Don’t spike the ball on the five-yard line. Wait until you get into the end zone. We are not in the end zone yet,” Fauci added.
“The Europeans thought they were home free, and they weren’t, and now they see an increase,” he added. “If you wait just a bit longer to give the vaccine program a chance to increase the protection in the community, then it makes pulling back much less risky.”
“I think we are in a different situation than Europe because of the vaccine-induced immunity that we are getting into the population,” the former Food and Drug Administration commissioner added.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. has administered 107 million vaccines as of Sunday afternoon. Twenty-seven percent of adults have received at least one dose so far.
Meanwhile, new Covid infections in the U.S. continue to decline and, as of Saturday, were down 11% compared to the week prior, according to a CNBC analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University.
However, infections remain high, averaging more than 50,000 a day, according to the data. And more than 1,400 people are still dying a day from the virus in the U.S on average.
As trends in the U.S. improve compared to the winter surge, Europe is now facing a new wave of infections. Italy, Germany, Poland, and Hungary have reported severe spikes, and the Czech Republic and Slovakia show some of the world’s highest death rates.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi is placing the majority of the country on lockdown over the Easter weekend to mitigate the virus’s spread. Several of the country’s regions will live under more stringent public health measures starting Monday.
German public health authorities have said the country is experiencing a third wave of the virus.
The rising infections come as Europe struggles with its vaccine rollout. Several European countries have halted the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine after recipients reported the formation of blood clots.
AstraZeneca said in a statement Friday that there’s “no evidence” that the vaccine causes an increased risk of developing blood clots.
Last week, President Joe Biden urged Americans to remain vigilant against the disease by following public health measures in his first primetime address. Biden also set a goal for Americans to gather in small groups to celebrate the Fourth of July.
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