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Despite increased vaccination efforts, Dr. Fauci says a lack of a continuous decline in case numbers is concerning.
ALEX ARGER: More Americans are getting vaccinated against COVID-19 every day as the rate of new cases in the US hits a plateau. But Dr. Anthony Fauci says that plateau is disturbingly high, and he says the US is at risk for a new surge, as there hasn't been a continued decline in case numbers amid the spread of highly contagious variants.
ANTHONY FAUCI: The way we're looking at it now, it's almost a race between getting people vaccinating and this surge that seems to want to increase.
ALEX ARGER: The US has now had more than 31 million cases and more than 560,000 deaths. And now, experts say the variants are to blame for a rise in new cases in the Northeast and in the Midwest, like in Michigan. A variant outbreak there has overwhelmed its public health system, and the state is approaching its pandemic high of daily cases set back in November. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer is urging increased vaccinations and seeking additional vaccine supplies to calm the surge.
GRETCHEN WHITMER: This is why it's so important that the nation surges, some vaccine's here. This is why it's so important that we continue to move forward in getting the population vaccinated, getting people masked up.
ALEX ARGER: Elsewhere, Georgia is the third state to temporarily shut down a vaccine site after eight people there reported adverse reactions to Johnson & Johnson's shot. Meanwhile, other states, including California, are expected to see their supplies of the J & J vaccine plummet due to production problems.
Other nations are experiencing vaccine shortages, too. Some 60 countries, including many poor nations, are experiencing vast delivery delays after a major factory in India suspended exports. The World Health Organization is blasting a, quote, "shocking imbalance in global vaccination rates." This comes as the CDC and global agencies are encouraging massive vaccination campaigns to curtail the pandemic.
ROCHELLE WALENSKY: These trends are pointing to two clear truths. One, the virus still has a hold on us, infecting people and putting them in harm's way, and we need to remain vigilant. And two, we need to continue to accelerate our vaccination efforts and to take the individual responsibility to get vaccinated when we can.
ALEX ARGER: For Newsy, I'm Alex Arger.