THE US may be on the brink of a devastating fourth Covid wave – prompting experts including Dr Fauci to urge for mask mandates and restrictions to be kept in place.
The US could face a fourth coronavirus wave, the director of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warnedCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Dr Rochelle Walensky said a fourth coronavirus wave could be caused by new variants and the rising number of infectionsCredit: Reuters
Dr Anthony Fauci said it is too early to lift the mask mandatesCredit: AP:Associated Press
Speaking at a White House briefing, CDC Director Dr Rochelle Walensky said there is a risk of a potential fourth surge of the virus due to new variants and a recent rise in infections.
She said: “Please hear me clearly. At this level of cases with variants spreading, we stand to completely lose the hard-earned ground we have gained.
“Now is not the time to relax the critical safeguards that we know could stop the spread of Covid-19 in our communities, not when we are so close.”
The number of Covid-19 cases in the US fell sharply in January but has since begun to increase.
‘WE ARE SO CLOSE’
Over the past week, the US averaged just under 65,000 new cases per day.
In Texas, Governor Greg Abbott decided to ease coronavirus restrictions, lifting the state’s mask mandate and declaring that businesses will be able to operate at full capacity.
He said the restrictions are no longer necessary because of the progress made on vaccines.
However, the outbreak in the state is growing, with cases rising by 27 per cent over the past week, Axios reports.
Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves also lifted all businesses restrictions as well as the state’s mask mandate.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott lifted ‘stay-at-home’ restrictions and the mask mandatesCredit: Alamy Live News
Fauci spoke out about the Republican governors’ decisions to ease all the measures, telling CNN host Erin Burnett: “I don’t know why they’re doing it, but it’s certainly from a public health standpoint ill advised.
“We’ve been to the scene before months and months ago when we tried to open up the country and the economy when certain states did not abide by the guidelines we had rebounds which were very troublesome.
“What we don’t need right now is another surge, so just pulling back on all of the public health guidelines that we know work – and if you take a look at the curve, we know it works.
“It’s just inexplicable why you would want to pull back now. I understand the need to wanting to go back to normality, but you are only gonna set yourself back if you completely push aside the public health guidelines.”
Joe Biden said lifting mask mandates and Covid restrictions at this time is ‘a big mistake’Credit: Splash News
He said: “I hope everybody’s realized by now these masks make a difference.
“We are on the cusp of being able to fundamentally change the nature of this disease because of the way we’re able to get vaccines in people’s arms.”
He continued: “The last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime everything’s fine, take off your mask, forget it,” he said. “It still matters.”
Mask mandates have been lifted in some states including Texas and MississippiCredit: Getty Images – Getty
It comes as Biden said on Tuesday that the US expects to take delivery of enough coronavirus vaccines for all adult Americans by the end of May – two months earlier than anticipated.
The president also pushed states to get at least one shot into the arms of teachers by the end of March to hasten school reopenings.
More than 800,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be distributed this week to pharmacies, on top of the 2.4 million they are now getting from Pfizer and Moderna.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki also announced Tuesday that the federal government was increasing supply of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines to states next week to 15.2 million doses per week, up from 14.5 million previously.
States will also receive 2.8 million doses of the J&J shot this week.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the US recorded 29,458,986 infections and 531,682 coronavirus-related deaths.
Fauci receiving his first dose of the new Moderna vaccineCredit: Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.