Public health officials noted an increase Friday in new cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, while over a quarter of U.S. adults were considered fully vaccinated against it.
“As of today, overall, more than 112 million Americans have received at least one dose, and more than 66 million adult Americans are now fully vaccinated,” Jeffrey Zients, the White House coronavirus response coordinator under President Biden, said during a press briefing. “That’s more than one-quarter of all adult Americans that are now fully vaccinated,” he said, up from less than 1% in January.
The number of new cases of COVID-19 being reported within the U.S. has continued to climb as well, however, causing health officials to caution Americans not to put the ongoing pandemic in the past.
“All of us need to keep up our guard and finish this job,” said Mr. Zients. “So, please, please wear a mask, socially distance and get vaccinated when it’s your turn.”
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases is over 64,000 per day, up about 2% from the prior seven-day period.
Hospital admissions continue to increase as well, she added, noting the most recent seven-day average, about 5,300 admissions per day, is up close to 7% compared to the previous seven-day period.
“On the one hand, we have so much reason for optimism and hope, and more Americans are being vaccinated and protected from COVID-19,” she said. “On the other hand, cases and emergency room visits are up.”
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the head of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Mr. Biden‘s chief medical officer, raised concerns earlier in the week about those numbers rising.
Interviewed late Wednesday, when the rate of daily new COVID-19 infections was around 60,000, Dr. Fauci said the number of fresh cases being reported had “plateaued at a disturbingly high level.
“When you’re at that level, there is the risk of getting a surge back up,” he said on CNN. “So the way we’re looking at it now, it’s almost a race between getting people vaccinated and this surge that seems to want to increase and do what’s going on, for example, in Europe where they’re having some surges now that are really quite alarming.”
More than 30 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the U.S., a nation of close to 330 million, since the coronavirus outbreak erupted in late 2019 and quickly spread around the world.
Americans began receiving COVID-19 vaccinations in December, and more than 16.5 million doses had been administered nationwide by the time Mr. Biden succeeded former President Trump on Jan. 20.
Close to three million vaccinations are currently being administered daily in the U.S., putting the president on path to reaching his goal of having 200 million vaccinations administered within his first 100 days in office.