Just because the COVID-19 vaccine is here and people are lining up to get it, doesn’t mean that the restrictions imposed during the pandemic are ready to be lifted, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). At Friday’s White House COVID-19 Response Team Briefing, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the CDC, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Andy Slavitt, White House senior advisor on the COVID-19 response, explained why. Read on to find out what they had to say—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
The CDC Chief Says Now is Not the Time to Lift Restrictions
“Given the trends that we've seen in just the last couple of days, we can't be in a place where we're lifting restrictions right now,” Dr. Walensky said. “I would really encourage people, the CDC would really encourage people and States to not expand and release restrictions.”
Fauci agreed. “We understand there is a tendency given that the deflection of the curve is down to get back to a situation where you're approaching normal, because everybody's under the stress and strain of the long duration of this, but we really have to be careful and take a look at that curve,” he explained. “The point that Dr. Walensky made is critical. If we plateau at 70,000, we are at that very precarious position that we were right before the fall surge.”
“You know, we don't want to be people always looking at the dark side of things, but you want to be realistic,” he continued. “So we have to carefully look at what happens over the next week or so with those numbers before you start making the understandable need to relax on certain restrictions. So just watch it closely and be prepared to react according to what actually happens.”
Andy Slavitt also issued a reminder of President Joe Biden’s small ask of the American people. “The president has asked that for a hundred days, we all do our part as a country to stop the spread of this virus while we are vaccinating the country,” he said. “And if we do that, and if we do that successfully, we will be able to open schools and businesses safely and keep them open.”
He also reminded what happens when we don’t follow the recommended fundamentals: cases surge. “We've seen what happens. So the president is very strong in these calls,” he said. “We think it is a mistake to take our foot off the gas too early, especially when we are accelerating our vaccination efforts right now.”
How to Stay Safe During This Pandemic
So follow Fauci’s fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—wear a face mask that fits snugly and is double layered, don’t travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.