More than half of people in the United States, aged 65 or over, have been at least partially vaccinated against Covid-19, senior adviser to President Joe Biden’s Covid-19 response team said Friday.
This puts more pressure on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to issue guidelines on what people can do safely after full vaccination.
At a media briefing on Friday, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Valensky acknowledged the urgency and promised guidance would come soon.
“These are complex issues and science is evolving rapidly,” she said. “CDC works to ensure that the messages we release in this guide are clear. We take care and take the time to do this properly.”
As vaccination rates accelerate in the United States – more than 2 million doses were given on Thursday – the number of new cases of Covid-19 has begun to stop after weeks of steady decline.,, Valenski warned.
“The latest figures show that cases continue to range from about 60,000 to 70,000 cases a day,” she said. The reduction in the number of deaths reported each day also equaled to around 1900.
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These numbers are “still too high,” Valenski said, “and are now a plateau for more than a week at levels we saw during the wave in late summer.”
The latest information is worrying for public health officials – especially after some states, including Texas and Mississippi, have announced they will begin easing the rules for wearing linings.
The slowing decline suggests that the country is “threatened by a new leap” of Covid-19, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, during the briefing.
Meanwhile, CDC guidance on how fully vaccinated individuals can interact with other fully vaccinated people – who were expected to be released this week – has been delayed.
The CDC said it was working to simplify the guidelines and clarify the public. There is speculation that the guidelines may suggest that fully vaccinated people be able to gather indoors with other fully vaccinated people without masks.
“I know that the idea of relaxing wearing a mask and returning to daily activities is attractive. But we are not there yet,” Valenski said.
“I think the CDC is taking the time to make sure they’re careful not to go beyond science,” said Dr. Richard Besser, president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and former acting director of the CDC.
Meanwhile, Americans are desperate for permission to reconnect with their loved ones.
“I hope there are some guidelines that can be changed so that grandparents who are fully vaccinated can embrace their grandchildren,” Besser added.
Also Friday, a new CDC report found that indoor dining was linked to an increase in both Covid-19 and Covid-19 deaths.
The study looks at the impact of local eating and drinking.
“The increase in daily levels of Covid-19 cases and deaths is growing faster within 40 to 80 days after restaurants are allowed to resume indoor meals,” Walensky said.
She added that the findings serve “as a warning of premature withdrawal” of the mandates. In addition to Texas and Mississippi, Iowa, Montana and North Dakota are also in the process of repealing rules requiring facial coverage.
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According to the CDC, more than 54 million people in the United States have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccination. That number is expected to rise significantly in the coming months, as Biden said on Thursday that the country should have enough doses of vaccines for every adult by the end of May.
Also Friday, the administration announced that two stadiums would act as federal Covid-19 vaccination sites. These are the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta and the Wolstein Center in Cleveland.
Both sites are expected to receive at least 6,000 vaccinations each day.
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