The coronavirus pandemic feels like it’s winding down when in fact, it could wind up again at any moment, warns Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). At Friday’s White House COVID-19 Response Team Briefing, she revealed stats from a big new study that indicate the lifting of mask mandates and the opening of indoor dining resulted in a rise of cases and deaths. “While we get more people vaccinated,” it’s essential we don’t spread the virus further, she says. Read on to see how you can stay safe—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had Coronavirus.
The CDC Chief Warned That the Opening of Restaurants and Lifting of Mask Mandates Has Led to More Spread
Although it may seem like the pandemic is nearly over, it is not. “With the most recent seven day average of 62,000 cases per day, we also continue to see deaths hovering around 2,000 deaths per day, with the latest seven-day average of 1,900 deaths per day, the current numbers remain concerning,” said Dr. Walensky. “Cases and deaths are still too high and have now plateaued for more than a week at levels we saw during the late summer surge, following six weeks of sturdy declines. This is why I’m asking you to double down on our prevention measures. I know the idea of relaxing mask wearing and getting back to everyday activities is appealing, but we’re not there yet. And we have been, we had seen this movie before when prevention measures like mask mandates are rolled back, cases go up.”
“An article published today in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly report highlights the critical importance of these prevention strategies to end the real risks when prevention measures are eased. This study looked at the relationship between COVID-19 cases and deaths and state issued mask mandates and restaurant resuming on-premises dining from March to September of 2020.”
What did the researchers find? “The researchers found that increases in both daily death rates and COVID cases and deaths slowed significantly within 20 days of putting mask mandates into place…In contrast,” she said, “increases in daily death rates of COVID-19 cases and death grew more quickly within 40 to 80 days following restaurants being allowed to resume on premises dining.”
“This report,” she said, “is a critical reminder that with the current levels of COVID-19 in communities and the continued spread of more transmissible virus variants, which have now been detected in 48 states, strictly following prevention measures remains essential for putting an end to this pandemic. It also serves as a warning about premature lifting these prevention measures. There is a light at the end of this tunnel, but we must be prepared for the fact that the road ahead may not be smooth. And that half is within our control by continuing to wear a mask and following CDC’s public health recommendations.”
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How to Stay Safe During This Pandemic
Follow Fauci’s fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—wear a face mask that fits snugly and is double layered, don’t travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don’t go indoors with people you’re not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don’t visit any of these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.