CDC Director Warns Against Masks-Lifting Mandates: ‘We Are Not Out of The Way’

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The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Sunday that it is too early to ease mask mandates and social distancing rules, warning that the most contagious strain of COVID-19 first identified in the UK could be the dominant strain in America in the end. of March. In an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky said the United States cannot afford to lower its guard.

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““ We still have 100,000 cases a day. We still have between 1,500 and 3,500 deaths a day … And yet we see some communities relax some of their mitigation strategies. We are not out of the woods “.”

“If we relax these mitigation strategies with the increase in communicable variants, we could be in a much more difficult situation,” added Walensky. “Now is the time to duplicate.” While only around 1,000 cases of the UK variant found in the US have been confirmed so far, he cautioned that that could change soon. “Now we know that, or we now estimate that about 4% of the diseases in this country are related to B.1.1.7,” Walensky said. “And we have projections that it could be the dominant strain by the end of March.” That is why, he said, it is so important to increase the number of coronavirus vaccines as soon as possible. Walensky’s warnings come as some states have eased restrictions on the coronavirus. Montana and Iowa recently lifted the mask mandates, and North Dakota‘s mask requirement expired in late January. “We need to get our communities back to normal function before we can start thinking about putting our mitigation strategies down,” he said. He added that he hopes the schools can reopen “in the safest and fastest way possible.” “Our guidance really depends on the amount of disease in the community,” Walensky said, noting that studies have shown that transmission of the virus is more likely to occur in the community than within schools. In recent days, the average number of new COVID-19 cases in the US has fallen below 100,000 per day for the first time in months, although the number of deaths remains high. As of Sunday, there have been more than 27.6 million cases in the United States and more than 485,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Both are by far the best in the world.