With only three to four months until there are enough vaccines for all American adults, COVID-19 cases and deaths are started to increase.
While vaccine production is ramping up and mass vaccinations are underway, cases increased by 3.5% and deaths increased by 2.2% from the last seven-day average. The White House and CDC are imploring people to remain vigilant with masking and social distancing to reduce the spread of the virus and save lives.
The next few weeks will determine how this pandemic will end as pandemic fatigue, a disregard of COVID-19 precautions and the increased spread of variants all can create a deadly trajectory. By May, the government will have enough doses to vaccinate all American adults, but until then the White House and CDC are urging Americans to mask-up and continue social-distancing.
“How this plays out is up to us. The next three months are pivotal, I’m asking you to reach deeply to protect our nation’s health and to protect your loved ones. Whether mandated or not, as individuals and as communities, we can still take the right public health action to protect ourselves and others,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky said during the COVID Press Briefing.
This plea to the American people comes just a day after Texas Governor, Greg Abbott, lifted the state-wide mask mandate and allowed businesses to open at full capacity. However, the White House and CDC are still recommending that individuals wear masks and socially distance despite the state guidelines.
“Every individual has the power to do the right thing here, regardless of what the states decide for personal health or public health, for their health and their loved ones and communities,” Dr. Walensky said.
Many of the COVID-19 variants from the U.K, South Africa, Brazil, California and New York increase transmission rates and as they start to circulate, the virus is becoming more difficult to contain. So far, the approved vaccines have protected against the variants, however, the White House COVID-19 Response Team is continuing to consider further options to provide protection against the variants.
To protect against the variants, studies are currently underway looking into booster doses, variant-specific vaccines and even a so-called “Holy Grail” vaccine that would protect against all variants of COVID-19.