The race is on to vaccinate Americans and prevent the fourth wave of COVID-19 infections from sweeping across the country.
The CDC says the more deadly and contagious U.K. variant is now the most common lineage found in the United States, but the good news is the vaccines seem to be effective against the new variants.
White House officials say we are in a battle against time and announced this week that every U.S. adult will be eligible to sign up to get in line to receive a coronavirus vaccine by April 19th.
“We’re still in a life and death race against this virus,” said President Biden Tuesday.
Biden hopes we’ll see a return to normal by July 4th, but encourages Americans to take precautions until then.
“Even moving at the record speed we’re moving – we’re not even halfway through vaccinating over 300 million Americans,” the president declared. “This is going to take time.”
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Meanwhile, 44 percent of new U.S. COVID-19 cases are coming from just five states: New York, New Jersey, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.
“We’re seeing the numbers go up, and we’re still seeing that sick patient population coming in,” said Dawn Holland, a nurse a Beaumont Hospital in Michigan. “We can definitely feel that there’s an uptick, you know, for the sick patients coming in.”
Michigan health care workers say they’re concerned by the ages of the patients being hospitalized.
“We’re seeing a lot more younger adults, middle-aged adults being affected, getting sick and coming in,” said Raj Goswami from Beaumont Hospital.
The CDC director warns daycare centers and youth sports are leading to a rise in cases amongst youth.
“65,000 cases…that’s 65,000 opportunities for new cases to occur, for more variants to spread,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC.
But Dr. Anthony Fauci says there is good news on the efficacy of the vaccines.
“Antibodies delivered by vaccination persist at least through six months and likely by the shape of the curve, well beyond that,” said Dr. Fauci in a press conference Wednesday.
And he assured Americans the end will come.
“We’ll know it when we see it. It will be obvious when numbers come down and when they do, we’re going to wind up getting really – step wise – much, much towards what we consider approaching a degree of normality,” said Dr. Fauci. “It’s on the way, hang in there.”
Fauci added that the federal government will not require Americans to carry vaccine passports, although he foresees some businesses implementing their own rules requiring them.