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article imageNumber of COVID variants in U.S. could wipe out progress

By Karen Graham     Mar 1, 2021 in Health
The decline in Covid-19 cases reported in the U.S. since early January may be flattening, a concerning shift as highly transmissible variants threaten to exacerbate infections, the head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
“Over the last few weeks, cases and hospital admissions in the United States have been coming down since early January, and deaths have been declining in the past week,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said during a press briefing, per CNBC. “But the latest data suggest that these declines may be stalling, potentially leveling off at still a very high number.”
A CNBC analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University shows that nation has been averaging about 73,376 new cases a day over the past week. The U.S. peaked at close to 250,000 cases per day in early January following the winter holidays.
However, Walensky pointed out that a number of new coronavirus variants are beginning to take hold in the nation. One variant, known as B.1.1.7 and first found in the U.K., is expected to become the predominant strain by mid-to-late March, experts have predicted.
On Sunday, health experts reported an all-time high of 306 cases of coronavirus variants, with the majority concentrated in Florida, Michigan, and Texas, according to The Hill.
This is concerning because but there are signs the decline is slowing or reversing. The B.1.1.7 variant appears to account for roughly 10 percent of new Covid-19 cases in the U.S., up from just 1 percent a few weeks ago, Walensky said.
"Similarly, the most recent seven-day average of deaths has also increased more than 2% ... to nearly 2,000 deaths per day," Walensky added, according to CNN.
Walensky also said states shouldn’t begin to lift restrictions on businesses and gatherings given the direction of cases and high level of viral spread. "I am really worried about reports that more states are rolling back the exact public health measures we have recommended to protect people from Covid-19," she said.
“I want to be clear: Cases, hospital admissions, and deaths all remain very high, and the recent shift in the pandemic must be taken extremely seriously,” Walensky said.
More about Covid19, Variants, CDC director, lifting restrictions, decline in Covid19 cases
 
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