Rochelle Walensky, director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is deeply concerned about the climbing rate of daily COVID-19 diagnoses — enough to make her feel “scared.”
During a virtual White House press briefing on Monday, Walensky said she was “going to lose the script” for a moment to “reflect on the recurring feeling … of impending doom” over the possibility of a new surge in coronavirus cases.
“We have so much to look forward to, so much promise and potential of where we are and so much reason for hope. But right now, I’m scared,” the CDC director said.
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky goes off script with an emotional plea to the public about an “impending doom” following rise in COVID cases:
“Right now, I’m scared.” pic.twitter.com/UKjrRhr7He
— The Recount (@therecount) March 29, 2021
Walensky noted that there has been a troubling increase in the average number of new cases seen in recent days. Indeed, over the course of the past two weeks, the daily average of new cases has increased by 15 percent, according to numbers from The New York Times.
Much of the increase has been due to increased travel, which could lead to disastrous outcomes, Walensky said.
“What we’ve seen over the last week or so is a steady rise of cases. I know that travel is up, and I just worry that we will see the surges that we saw over the summer and over the winter again,” Walensky cautioned.
Walensky shared similar concerns on NBC’s “Today” show last week. “We’re still seeing about a thousand deaths a day — way too many,” she said.
She did note on the program, however, that not all of the news was bad. The fact that around 2.5 million Americans were getting vaccinated each day, she said, was having a positive impact, particularly for those over the age of 65.
Individuals in that age range are now witnessing substantially lower mortality rates, thanks to the vaccine — “from 16 in 100,000 [deaths] in January, to 1 in 100,000 now,” the CDC director said.
On Monday, the Biden administration announced that 90 percent of U.S. adults would be eligible for coronavirus vaccines by April 19. Prior to today, President Joe Biden had ordered all states to make every adult eligible by May 1.
More than 30.2 million Americans have received a COVID-19 diagnosis since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, with close to 550,000 having died from the virus. A health model from the University of Washington predicts that another 50,000 Americans could die from coronavirus by July 1 — though that number could be lessened by around 10,000 fewer deaths if masks were universally worn.