While coronavirus deaths tend to fluctuate more than cases and hospital admissions, Dr Walensky said the most recent seven-day average was slightly above average earlier in the week. The seven-day average of the newly reported deaths was 2,165 as of Thursday.
“We at the CDC see this as a very concerning course change,” she said, adding, “I want to be clear: the cases, hospital admissions and deaths – all remain very high and the recent change in pandemic must be taken very seriously. “
Dr Walensky said part of the increase could be attributed to newer variants of the coronavirus that spread more efficiently and quickly. The so-called variant B.1.1.7, which first appeared in Britain, now accounts for around 10% of all cases in the United States, up from 1% to 4% a few weeks ago, has she declared.
The ability of the United States to follow variants is much less robust than that of Great Britain. Even so, data collected by the CDC shows that the number of cases with the variant in the country rose from 76 in 12 states as of January 13 to more than 2,100 in 45 states as of Thursday. But actual infections can be much higher due to insufficient surveillance efforts.
“I know people are tired; they want to get back to life, to normal, ”said Dr Walensky. “But we are not there yet.”
Dr Walensky’s loud, vocal warnings made it clear that in the Biden administration, unlike the Trump administration, the CDC director had a powerful voice. Under President Donald J. Trump, the agency has been virtually silenced after one of its senior officials, Dr Nancy Messonnier, told reporters almost exactly a year ago that the coronavirus would cause serious disruption in American life.
At the same time, administration officials have tried to highlight their efforts to pull the country out of the pandemic, including stepping up the national coronavirus vaccination campaign, acquiring new therapies and training the private sector. in the battle.