Rising Covid cases can’t be blamed on variants alone as travel resumes, states lift restrictions, Fauci says

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies throughout a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee listening to on the federal coronavirus response on Capitol Hill on March 18, 2021 in Washington, DC.

Susan Walsh | Pool | Getty Images

The newest rise in new Covid-19 infections can’t be pinned on extremely transmissible variants alone as extra Americans travel for spring break and states lift restrictions, together with masks mandates, supposed to sluggish the virus’ unfold, White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci mentioned on Sunday.

Following practically three months of declines, U.S. coronavirus cases are starting to rebound as soon as once more. The nation is reporting a weekly common of 61,821 new Covid-19 cases per day, a 12% enhance in contrast with per week in the past, in response to a CNBC evaluation of knowledge compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

It’s an end result public well being specialists, together with Fauci, have warned in opposition to since late February after day by day infections plateaued amid the rise of virus variants threatening to brush throughout the U.S. very like they did in Europe.

One variant first recognized within the U.Ok. regarding public well being specialists, identified as B.1.1.7, has been detected in each state besides Oklahoma, in response to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s most latest information.

Other extremely transmissible variants first present in South Africa and Brazil, dubbed B.1.351 and P.1., respectively, have now been recognized within the U.S. The CDC is rigorously following one other variant present in New York City, referred to as B.1.526, which can also be thought to be extra transmissible in contrast with earlier strains, the company’s Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky mentioned on Wednesday.

A extra transmissible virus might result in extra infections and inevitably hospitalizations and deaths even as probably the most susceptible are vaccinated in opposition to the illness, specialists warn, making the race to vaccinate extra folks essential. However, Fauci mentioned the troublesome mutations aren’t the one motive why cases are growing.

“What we’re likely seeing is because of things like spring break and pulling back on the mitigation methods that you’ve seen. Now, several states have done that,” Fauci instructed CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday.

“Variants we take seriously and are concerned, but it is not only the variants that are doing that,” he mentioned.

Despite repeated warnings from the Biden administration, some states have cast forward with reopening their economies, citing an accelerated vaccine rollout and declining cases and hospitalizations as their reasoning.

State officers have lifted capability restrictions on companies like gyms and eating places, whereas a handful of them have terminated — or plan to get rid of — statewide masks necessities. Millions of Americans, having been cooped up over the previous 12 months, are returning to the skies, profiting from low cost flights and inns whereas they final.

“Even if on the planes people are wearing masks, when you get to the airport, the check-in lines, the food lines for restaurants, the boarding that you see, how people sometimes can be congregating together, those are the kind of things that invariably increase the risk of getting infected,” Fauci mentioned on Sunday.

Other high Biden well being officers have warned that now isn’t the time to ease restrictions. Walensky mentioned throughout a White House information briefing Friday that she stays “deeply concerned” concerning the trajectory of the nation’s epidemic.

“We have seen cases and hospital admissions move from historic declines to stagnations and increases. We know from prior surges that if we don’t control things now, there is a real potential for the epidemic curve to soar again,” Walensky mentioned.

— CNBC’s Leslie Josephs contributed to this report.

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