The country seemed to be making some headway in the number of daily new cases previously but in recent weeks that improvement has been overshadowed by a plateau in cases. There has been a startling increase in the number of cases throughout the nation. It has come to the point where the Director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has professed her worry and fear of what is soon to come.
Impending Doom Is Approaching
Dr. Rochelle Walensky the director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention stated, “I know that travel is up, and I just worry that we will see the surges that we saw over the summer and over the winter again. What we’ve seen over the last week or so is a steady rise of cases.”
A factor that is one of the main causes of this jump in cases is the B.1.1.7 variant. This variant originated in the United Kingdom and is thus also known as the UK variant. Initially, experts believed that the B.1.1.7 variant needed to be monitored as it was found to be highly contagious. Now medical professionals have further cause for concern as they have learned that this particular variant is not only infectious but extremely lethal as well.
Dr. Anthony Fauci the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and one of the leading doctors during the pandemic said that young people heading out for Spring break as well as state-wide mandates being relaxed is not helping matters. Fauci explained that “What we’re likely seeing is because of things like spring break and pulling back on the mitigation methods that you’ve seen now.”
The only saving grace is the fact that there are now vaccines available to provide a modicum of protection from the virus and all its accompanying variants. So far three vaccines can be taken by the public- the Moderna vaccine, the Pfizer vaccine, and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. All three vaccines seem to be effective in protecting against the Coronavirus as well as the B.1.1.7 variant of the Coronavirus.
However, there are still many people who require inoculation before the nation can rest easy. So far reports show that only 15.8% of the population has been fully vaccinated. This number is not sufficient enough for the country to breathe easily or to hope for herd immunity. The nation seems to be at a standstill with anti-vaxxers and vaccine hesitancy still dominant.
Dr. Walensky who worked on the front lines in the battle against the pandemic prior to becoming the CDC director emphasized that she knows first-hand the debilitating effect of the Coronavirus. “I know what it’s like as a physician to stand in that patient room – gowned, gloved, masked, shielded – and to be the last person to touch someone else’s loved one because they are not able to be there,” she stated.
So far 27 states have reported a 10% increase in cases each day this week as compared to the numbers of the previous week. According to Dr. Ashish Jha, the dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, “A lot of the spread is happening among younger people. That’s the group that is moving around, kind of relaxing, getting infected.”
Spring break season has led to a record high in sunny cities and states where people have flocked en masse to beaches to take advantage of the sun. Local leaders have professed that the situation has become too much to handle. Moreover, states have relaxed their safety mandates. “ We’re weeks away from a point where we can begin to do these things a bit more safely,” Dr. Jha said. “But I think states have just moved too fast.”
Dr. Walensky emphasized that “Now is one of those times when I have to share the truth, and I have to hope and trust you will listen. I’m going to reflect on the recurring feeling I have of impending doom. We have so much to look forward to, so much promise and potential of where we are and so much reason for hope. But right now, I’m scared.”