The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are down in recent weeks, but three mutations that are causing concern have been detected in the U.S. (Feb. 1)
ROCHELLE WALENSKY: Variants remain a great concern, and we continue to detect them in the United States, with at least 33 jurisdictions reporting 471 variant cases as of January 31st. 467 of these cases are now B117 variants, first detected in the UK. And cases of this variant have now been detected in 32 states. Three of the cases are the B1351 variant, first detected in South Africa. Two states have reported cases of this variant. This includes one confirmed case in Maryland over the weekend and two confirmed cases from South Carolina last week.
With cases high and variants emerging, I want to stress to the American people the importance of taking a few simple actions we can all take to protect each other and to stop the spread of COVID-19. First, wear a mask. Stay six feet apart when you are in public and around others who do not live in your household. Second, please avoid crowds and poorly ventilated areas. Third, now is not the time to travel. But if you must travel, you must wear a mask and follow other CDC and local guidance in order to protect yourself and others while you travel. And finally, please get vaccinated when it's your turn.
ANTHONY FAUCI: [INAUDIBLE] asked questions often. Well, if you have these variants and they seem to be eluding the vaccine a little, is it really-- should we really be getting vaccines? Should we wait for the next generation of vaccines? The answer is, you need to get vaccinated when it becomes available as quickly and as expeditiously as possible throughout the country.
And the reason for that is that there is a fact that permeates virology. And that is that viruses cannot mutate if they don't replicate. And if you stop their replication by vaccinating widely and not giving the virus an open playing field to continue to respond to the pressures that you put on it, you will not get mutations.