March 30, 2021: The new coronavirus infections can’t be pinned on highly transmissible variants as most Americans travel for spring break and state lift restrictions, including mask mandates, to slow the virus’s spread White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Sunday.
After three months of decline, U.S. coronavirus cases are starting to rebound once again. The country is reporting an average weekly 61,821 new Covid-19 issues per day, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
The first variant identified in the U.K. that concerned public health experts, known as B.1.1.7, has been detected in all the states except Oklahoma, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s most recent data.
Other transmissible variants found in South Africa and Brazil have now been identified in the U.S.
The CDC follows another variant found in New York City, called B.1.526, which is also thought to be more transmissible than previous strains. The agency’s Director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, said on Wednesday.
A more transmissible virus could lead to more infections, and inevitably hospitalizations and deaths even as the most vulnerable are vaccinated against the disease, experts warn, making the race to vaccinate more people crucial. However, Fauci said the troublesome mutations aren’t the only reason why cases are increasing.
Despite repeated warnings from the Biden administration, some states have forged ahead with reopening their economies, citing an accelerated vaccine rollout and declining cases and hospitalizations as their reasoning.
State officials have lifted capacity restrictions on businesses like gyms and restaurants, while a handful of them have terminated state-wise mask requirements. Millions of Americans, having been cooped up over the past year, are returning to the skies, taking advantage of cheap flights and hotels while they last.
On Sunday, Fauci said that “Even if on the planes people are wearing masks, the check-in lines, the food lines for restaurants, people sometimes can be congregating together, those are the kind of things that invariably increase the risk of getting infected.”