Nationwide, the CDC recorded 1,523 cases of the British variant, 21 cases of the South African variant and 5 cases of a worrying variant that first occurred in Brazil.
Experts say the numbers do not reflect the true extent of the variants’ spread due to the nation’s underdeveloped genetic surveillance system. “That’s a countdown,” Johns Hopkins epidemiologist Caitlin Rivers said of the CDC numbers earlier this week.
According to the CDC, the variants appear “to spread more easily and faster than other variants, which can lead to more cases of COVID-19. An increase in cases will put more strain on health care resources, lead to more hospitalizations and potentially more deaths. “The agency says it is” closely monitoring the situation “.
The pandemic seems to be easing for the moment. According to the Johns Hopkins University, daily averages for coronavirus cases and deaths have fallen by about half across the country in the past two weeks. By Wednesday, over 40 million people – about 12% of the population – had received at least one dose of vaccine.
Experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s senior medical advisor on the pandemic, and CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky say, however, that the downtrend could be reversed if new variants take hold.
“I know these variations are important, especially as we are seeing signs of progress,” Walensky said during a White House briefing on Wednesday.
“As cases and hospitalizations continue to move in the right direction, we are still in a very serious pandemic and we continue to have more cases than we did during … the peak of last summer,” Walensky said. “The continued proliferation of communicable variants could jeopardize the progress we have made over the past month if we lose our vigilance.”
In a Viewpoint article published online Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Walensky, Fauci, and Dr. Henry Walke, another senior CDC official: “A concerted and well coordinated public health effort, along with a rapid and widespread adoption of effective vaccines are essential to the inevitable development of variants that can make the course of the pandemic dangerous to be one step ahead. “
Material from Globe Wire Services was used in this report.
Martin Finucane can be reached at [email protected]