(CNN) — The number of new COVID-19 cases has stalled at a “disturbingly high level” and the United States is at risk of a new wave, Dr. Anthony Fauci warned Wednesday.
Although far from the highs of earlier this year, more than 61,000 new cases were still reported Wednesday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. And the numbers are concerning, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told CNN’s Anderson Cooper, particularly given the spread of variants.
“It’s almost a race between vaccinating people and this wave that seems to want to increase,” Fauci said, noting that Europe is experiencing a wave very similar to the one that experts in the United States are concerned about.
The United States is vaccinating people rapidly, with just over 33% of the population (more than 109 million people) having received at least one dose of the vaccine, and all 50 states have pledged to open vaccination to all adults before April 19.
Those vaccines may be behind the decline in COVID-19 deaths, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Rochelle Walensky, said on Wednesday.
But the pace for vaccines to reach Americans will need to continue to increase now that the variant of the virus first identified in the UK, which is known to be more transmissible and believed to be more deadly, is the strain more common in the US, Walensky said.
To combat the variant, Fauci urged Americans to get vaccinated and adhere to preventive measures.
“Hang on a little longer,” he said. “Now is not the time, as I have said so many times, to declare victory prematurely.”
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Cases increase among the youngest
The daily rate of new coronavirus cases in the country increased for most of the last four weeks. Part of that is due to the spread of B.1,1.7 and other worrisome variants, Walensky said earlier this week.
The U.S. has averaged more than 64,760 new coronavirus cases per day over the past week, a little less than the previous week, but still about 21% more than two weeks ago and more than 12% more than it does ago four weeks, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Recent infections have been skewed toward younger people, a factor that Fauci says can be partly attributed to the fact that many older people are vaccinated.
Fauci noted that more than 75% of people 65 and older have received at least one injection of the covid-19 vaccine in the United States.
He said there are a number of factors at play, including clusters of cases in kindergartens and school sports teams, in which people are in close contact and sometimes not wearing masks, and variant B.1,1.7.
“I think that’s what explains this wave of cases in young people,” he said.
As cases tend toward younger Americans, many schools are expanding access to full face-to-face learning. Roughly three-quarters of US public schools are open for full-time face-to-face or hybrid learning.
Of the nation’s fourth-graders, 39% attend school full-time in person and 29% of eighth-graders, according to data released Wednesday by the Department’s National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). of Education.
Those students who return to school are not yet eligible for vaccines, although studies are expected to show the effectiveness of vaccines in children as young as six months in the coming months, Fauci said.
Until then, students under the age of 16 should continue to wear masks, avoid close contact and avoid indoor environments, Fauci said.
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Risks and benefits of vaccines
As the US rushes to vaccinate people, experts and officials are facing adverse reactions believed to be related to some vaccines.
Operations were halted at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Colorado on Wednesday after health officials reported that 11 people who received their vaccinations became ill.
Those patients experienced symptoms such as nausea and dizziness and were taken to a local hospital for precautionary observation, according to a news release from the Colorado State Joint Information Center.
Although the cases may sound concerning, state officials said they have no reason to believe that people vaccinated at the center should be concerned.
“The state has no reason to believe that the people who were vaccinated today at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park should be concerned,” state officials said.
“As far as we know, today’s side effects were consistent with what to expect,” said Scott Bookman, covid-19 incident commander in the press release. “Receiving a vaccine is much safer than getting seriously ill with covid-19.”
Amanda Sealy, Ben Tinker, Lauren Mascarenhas, Betsy Klein, Elizabeth Stuart, Joe Sutton, Richard Greene y Schams Elwazer de CNN contribuyeron a este informe.