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The U.S. may face an ‘avoidable’ surge of COVID-19 cases

Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said she’s worried about another surge that doesn’t need to happen

People in cars line up for COVID-19 testing outside of the Maverik Center in West Valley City on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said she’s worried about another surge that doens’t need to happen.
People in cars line up for COVID-19 testing outside of the Maverik Center in West Valley City on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said she’s worried about another surge that doesn’t need to happen.
Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director, said the United States could face a new surge of COVID-19 cases — and it is a completely avoidable surge.

What’s happening?

Walensky said Monday that the novel coronavirus variants have made their way to the United States and are creating more COVID-19 cases in the country.

  • Variants such as B.1427 and B.1429 — both discovered in California — make up half the cases in the Golden State. Those variants make up 41% of Nevada cases and 25% of Arizona cases, per Axios.
  • Just this week, Utah identified its first case of the COVID-19 variant discovered in Brazil. Experts suggested there are most likely more cases of the variant in the Beehive State that we don’t know about.

An avoidable surge?

Walensky said states shouldn’t pull back their mandates due to risks of the variants.

  • “We must act now, and I am worried that if we don’t take the right actions now, we will have another avoidable surge — just as we are seeing in Europe right now and just as we are so aggressively scaling up vaccination,” Walensky said, according to The Hill.
  • “We are looking at these data, we’re reaching out to individual states, trying to encourage them,” she said.

Walensky said the CDC is reaching out to governors to explain the issues with the variants.

Bigger picture

The United States is in a race to vaccinate its people before the variants take hold of the country. Right now, the United States has given 127 million doses, according to the Bloomberg COVID-19 vaccine tracker. There have been about 2.49 million doses administered per day.

Close to 44 million people (or 13.5% of the total U.S. population) has been vaccinated so far, NPR reports.