New COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are on the decline in the U.S., but health experts warn about complacency, while stressing that social distancing measures and the use of face masks are still important tools in keeping the progress going.
“I don’t think the vaccine is having much of an impact at all on case rates,” former CDC Director Tom Frieden said in an interview Sunday on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS.”
“It’s what we’re doing right: staying apart, wearing masks, not traveling, not mixing with others indoors,” he added.
In fact, the progress against COVID-19 can still be threatened by new variants of the virus, some experts say.
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said that about 4% of cases in the U.S. can now be traced to a more contagious variant, which was first detected in the U.K.
“We have projections that it may be the dominant strain by the end of March,” she told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday.
But still, the numbers are encouraging.
On Monday, John Hopkins University recorded 64,938 new cases in the U.S. which represented the best number the nation has seen since Oct. 25, when 62,020 new infections were reported.
The seven-day rolling average of new cases has dropped below 100,000 a day — the lowest rate since November.
And according to The COVID Tracking Project, which has recently announced that it’d stop collecting data on March 7, hospitalizations have declined for 33 consecutive days.
According to Forbes, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said that he is “cautiously optimistic” about the current direction of the pandemic.
In a recent interview with AXIOS on HBO, Fauci said that, while “things are going in the right direction ... we’re also going to be challenged by the appearance of variants or mutants that have appeared, some of which have a functional influence on how we’re gonna respond to them.”
“You don’t want people to become complacent. We still have a long way to go ... We still might have a stumbling block coming with the appearance of variants that would dominate the picture,” he added.