US contends with resurgence of Covid-19

By Nora Quintanilla

New York, Mar 30 (efe-epa).- President Joe Biden’s administration sees expanding the availability of vaccines as the top priority for the federal government amid a new surge of Covid-19 cases in the United States, the White House said Tuesday.

“As we have seen an uptick, an accelerating threat, I should say, we’ve also accelerated our response, and we’ve moved up universal shot date for most Americans by two weeks, increased vaccine supply to states, doubled the number of pharmacies getting supply, more than doubled, opened more mass vaccination centers,” Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters at the White House daily briefing.

“We know that the more people who can get vaccinated, the more accessible it is, the more effective we are going to be. And that’s where we’re putting our efforts,” she said.

Over the last week, according to The Washington Post, the median daily increase in cases exceeded 63,000 for the first time in nearly a month.

Nine states have experienced increases in the rate of contagion of more than 40 percent in the last 14 days. In Michigan, the number of new infections soared by 133 percent following the relaxation of some pandemic restrictions, such as the prohibition on indoor dining at restaurants.

The director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Rochelle Walensky, surprised attendees at a news briefing Monday by setting aside her prepared remarks to “to reflect on the recurring feeling I have of impending doom.”

“We have so much to look forward to, so much promise and potential of where we are and so much reason for hope,” she said. “But right now, I’m scared.”

Speaking later Monday at the White House, Biden seconded Walensky’s comments: “If we let our guard down now, we can see the virus getting worse, not better. People are letting up on precautions, which is a very bad thing.”

He noted with concern that many states and localities across the US have abandoned precautionary measures such as requiring masks.

“I’m reiterating my call for every governor, mayor, and local leader to maintain and reinstate the mask mandate. Please, this is not politics. Reinstate the mandate if you let it down,” Biden said.

“The failure to take this virus seriously – precisely what got us in this mess in the first place – risks more cases and more dests – deaths,” he said.

The US leads the world in Covid-19 fatalities with 550,000, as well as in cases, which have topped 30 million.

The president said that by April 19, at least 90 percent of US adults would have a vaccination site within 5 miles of their homes, though that does not guarantee that doses will be available for all eligible people.

State governors were informed on Tuesday that the federal government would soon allocate an additional 33 million vaccine doses, Psaki said, while the number of pharmacies provided with vaccines is being increased from 17,000 to 40,000.

To date, 95 million people – 28.6 percent of the US population – have gotten at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine and 52 million have had both doses. Roughly half of Americans over 65 have been fully immunized, according to the CDC. EFE


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