(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — With health officials and infectious disease experts warning that a possible fourth COVID-19 surge is on the horizon as states start loosening health restrictions and mask mandates, President Joe Biden says he is looking into executive action.
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky warned of “impending doom” as the rate of new COVID-19 cases rose by 10 percent. Because of this, she urged the nation to avoid a false sense of security amid an increasing rollout of COVID-19 vaccines.
“We have so much to look forward to, so much promise and potential of where we are, and so much reason for hope. But right now, I’m scared,” Walensky said Monday at a press briefing, doubling down on her prediction that the nation will experience an avoidable fourth surge in COVID-19 cases.
The way to avoid a fourth surge, she says, is to keep wearing masks, maintain social distancing and to avoid unnecessary travel until more Americans are fully vaccinated.
President Biden, on the heels of Walensky’s speech, called for more action from state governors.
“I’m reiterating my call for every governor, mayor, and local leader to maintain and reinstate the mask mandate – please,” he said. “The failure to take this virus seriously — precisely what got us in this mess in the first place.”
Adding that the nation is still in the midst of a “life-and-death race” against the virus, which is now aided by new variants that make the virus more infectious, President Biden called for Americans to stop with the “reckless behavior” — as seen by the spring breakers in Miami Beach, Florida over the past month.
Says Walensky, normalcy will return once the grand majority of Americans are fully vaccinated — saying, until then “hold on for a little while longer.”
COVID-19 has infected over 30.3 million Americans and has killed nearly 555,000 people in the U.S., according to data from Johns Hopkins University.