Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said it is “absolutely” too soon for states to roll back mask mandates as President Biden extends his call for 100 days of masking, urging Americans to mask up “over the next year.”
When asked if she considered it too early for states to ease up on mask mandates, Walensky said it is “absolutely” the case.
“We are still at about 100,000 cases a day. We are still at around 1,500 to 3,500 deaths per day. The cases are more than two and a half fold times what we saw over the summer,” she told NBC’s Chuck Todd during a Sunday appearance on Meet the Press.
Her remarks come as the U.S. sees a downward trend in average daily coronavirus cases in the U.S.
As Breitbart News reported last week:
According to the data, 108,000 Americans, on average daily, were confirmed to have contracted the Chinese coronavirus, but that represents a 24 percent drop from the previous week.
The steady decline follows a boom in the fall and winter as the second surge of the virus took a grip on the country. Cases rose, even in blue states that had mask mandates and other mitigation measures in place for months.
The CDC’s chart of daily trends in the number of coronavirus cases in the nation continues to show a steep decline, but Walensky said it is all about perspective.
“It’s encouraging to see these trends coming down, but they’re coming down from an extraordinarily high place,” she said.
Like Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical adviser on the novel coronavirus, Walensky warned of the virus variants, attributing the continuation of various public health measures, such as universal masking, to their spread and potential impact.
“We can’t let our guard down,” the CDC director said. “We have to continue wearing masks. We have to continue with our current mitigation measures. And we have to continue getting vaccinated as soon as that vaccine is available to us.”
The agency has since updated its guidelines, recommending Americans add layers of material to their masks, even suggesting double masking. Another CDC guidance, last updated February 10, also urges Americans to wear masks “anytime” they are indoors or outdoors with people with whom they do not live.
Prior to taking office, Biden previewed his plan to ask Americans to mask up for 100 days. He seemed to alter his position, extending the timeline to “the next year,” during last week’s visit to the National Institute of Health (NIH).
“It’s critically important as a message, [and] I realize that I’m speaking to a vast majority … of folks out here at NIH [who] know that wearing this mask over the next year here can save lives, a significant number of lives,” Biden said.