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.
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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.
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Experts are worried about another COVID-19 surge

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.