US President, Joe Biden has warned that too many Americans are declaring victory over the coronavirus too quickly. He appealed for mask requirements and other restrictions to be maintained or restored to prevent a “fourth surge” of COVID-19. virus
The warning came during a news conference, where the President laid out new steps to expand coronavirus vaccinations. With all adults to become eligible for a vaccine over the next 5 weeks, Biden announced plans to expand the number of retail pharmacies administering vaccines. He also promised to increase investments to help Americans get to vaccination sites.
However, his optimism was clouded by stark warnings about the potential for another wave of cases.
“This is deadly serious. Now is not the time to let down. Now’s not the time to celebrate. It is time to do what we do best as a country; our duty, our jobs, take care of one another.
“For the vast, vast majority of adults, you won’t have to wait until May 1. You’ll be eligible for your shot on April 19.
“Fight to the finish. Don’t let up now.”
Biden also urged governors to reinstate mask mandates and other restrictions that some states have been easing.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 145.8 million vaccine doses have been administered as of 29th March.
‘Impending doom’ amid rise in COVID cases virus
The US CDC has also reported a 10% rise in Covid-19 cases over the past week, from the previous week. The agency says the cases are up to about 60,000 per day, with both “hospitalizations and deaths ticking up.”
Speaking ahead of Biden in the news conference, CDC Director, Rochelle Walensky warned of “impending doom” amid rising cases of COVID-19.
She grew emotional as she reflected on her experience treating COVID-19 patients who were alone at the end of their lives.
“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.
“I’m going to lose the script, and I’m going to reflect on the recurring feeling I have of impending doom.”
Dr Walensky pointed to the rising number of people travelling and loosening of virus restrictions for the increase in cases.
“We’ve seen surges after every single holiday. Please limit travel to essential travel for the time being.
“People want to be done with this. I, too, want to be done with this. We are not powerless; we can change this trajectory of the pandemic. Just please hold on a little while longer.”
White house rules out “vaccine passports”
Meanwhile, the White House, has ruled out the creation of a “vaccine passport” for Americans to verify their immunization status. White House Press Secretary, Jen Psaki said the Biden administration is leaving it to the private sector to develop a system for people to show they’ve been vaccinated.
White House COVID-19 adviser, Andy Slavitt added that “We do know that there is a segment of the population that is concerned that the government will play too heavy-handed of a role in monitoring their vaccinations.”
He said officials are worried that “it would discourage people” from getting vaccinated, if the federal government was involved.