WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — While federal health officials are feeling good about the accelerating rate of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, they’re also warning that it’s too soon to let up on mitigation protocols.
The White House coronavirus task force said Monday that 1 in 3 Americans and more than 40% of adults nationwide have received at least one dose. On average, 3 million shots are being administered each day.
“We’re headed in the right direction,” senior White House pandemic advisor Andy Slavitt said during a virtual briefing.
But, he warned, “the worst thing we can do right now would be to mistake progress for victory.”
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky said that while death rates are down, infection rates have been rising for four straight weeks as more contagious variants spread.
“Please continue to hang in there and continue to do the things that prevent the spread of the virus,” Walensky said, referring to frequent hand washing, social distancing and wearing masks. “We can meet this moment if we keep doing our part.”
She said the bulk of new infections are among those 18 to 24 years old who are involved in extracurricular activities. She said anyone participating should undergo regular testing.
She and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top expert on infectious diseases, say there are no signs that the coming summer weather will slow the virus’ spread.
“I don’t think we should even think about relying on the weather to bail us out anything we’re in right now,” he said.
The Transportation Security Administration says 6 million people traveled by air for Easter, the most since the start of the pandemic. It remains to be seen how that will affect the current surge.