The head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday that a recent decline in COVID-19 cases may be stalling, a development she described as concerning while urging that restrictions to fight the virus remain in place.
“We at the CDC consider this a very concerning shift in the trajectory.” The head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday said that the number of COVID-19 cases had been increasing for the past three days compared to the prior week, a development she described as concerning while urging Americans to remain vigilant.
"Things are tenuous.
Now is not the time to relax restrictions.
Cases, hospital admissions, and deaths all remain very high and the recent shift in the pandemic must be taken extremely seriously." Dr. Rochelle Walensky also said that declines in hospitalizations and deaths were (quote) "potentially leveling off at still a very high number." States and cities have been gradually lifting restrictions in recent weeks.
New York City has reopened some indoor dining and Massachusetts plans to remove limits on restaurant capacity starting in March.
Montana, Iowa and North Dakota no longer have mask requirements.
Andy Slavitt, a senior adviser on the White House's COVID-19 response team, urged companies on Friday to help fight the pandemic.
"We are asking businesses to amplify CDC messages about masking and vaccinations on their products, properties and web sites.” Ford and Gap were producing and donating millions of masks, he said, while Best Buy, Target and Dollar General were giving workers paid time off or compensating them to get vaccinated.
The White House is working on a broad campaign to educate Americans about the vaccines as it seeks to bring the pandemic that has killed more than 500,000 people in the U.S. under control.
President Joe Biden this week voiced concerns that supply of vaccines later this spring would outstrip demand because of vaccine hesitancy.