The number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the US are rising — even as more people are getting vaccinated, federal health officials said Monday.
“We remain in a complicated stage,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said at a White House press briefing.
“On the one hand, more people in the United States are being vaccinated every single day at an accelerated pace. On the other hand, cases and hospitalizations are increasing.”
The CDC chief said there were 60,947 coronavirus cases reported to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Sunday, with the latest seven-day rolling average at 67,440 cases.
“For context, one month ago, our seven-day average of cases was just over 53,000 per day,” Walensky said.
People visit a memorial for residents who died from COVID-19 outside Reading Hospital in Pennsylvania.Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images
There are currently about 700 deaths per day in the country — with the numbers rising every day over nearly the past week, the top doc said.
Walensky blamed relaxed safety measures such as mask-wearing and too much indoor dining in some states, as well as the proliferation of virus variants.
There are currently about 700 deaths per day in the country — with the numbers rising every day over nearly the past week, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said.Mario Tama/Getty Images
The fact that children cannot yet be vaccinated is also fueling the increases, with more young people continuing to get the virus, Walensky said.
“While we’re making extraordinary strides in the number of people vaccinated, we still have an extraordinary amount of disease out there,” Walensky said.
People wait in the observation area after receiving a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at Providence St. Mary Medical Center on March 30, 2021, in Apple Valley, California.Mario Tama/Getty Images
“We know these vaccines work extraordinarily well. … However, they take some time to kick in, somewhere in the two- to six-week mark.
“If we have a lot of circulating virus today, the vaccines will work in a month, but they may not work today.”
A nurse administers a shot at a COVID-19 mass vaccination site at Martinsville speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia, on March 12, 2021. ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images
White House coronavirus task force chief Jeffrey Zients noted that everyone age 16 and older in the country is now eligible to get vaccinated.
Half of all American adults have already received at least their first shots of the inoculations, he said.
A woman visits the grave of her father, who died from COVID-19, at a cemetery in Hyattsville, Maryland, on February 23, 2021.ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images
“It’s never been easier to get a shot,” Zients said.
Still, Walensky noted, “The administration of vaccines hasn’t been uniform” — with some rural areas lagging.
Zients announced that the Department of Health and Human Services is dedicating $150 million to community-based health care facilities to push vaccines in areas that are behind.