April 08, 2021 08:20
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky said Wednesday the highly contagious B.1.1.7 variant originally identified in Britain is now the most common strain of the virus that causes COVID-19 circulating in the United States.
During the White House COVID-19 response team briefing, Walensky said the variant has been shown to be more transmissible and infectious among younger Americans, which she says contributed to rising case counts in recent weeks.
The CDC director said the latest figures show the U.S. seven-day daily case average rose by 2.3 percent from the previous seven days to 62,878 per day. She also said there are reports of clusters of cases associated with day care centers and youth sports across the country.
Hospital admissions have also been up by about 2.7 percent per day over the last week. Walensky said they are seeing more and more younger adults, those in their 30s and 40s, admitted with severe cases of the disease.
She said that while the U.S. is now vaccinating an average of three million Americans daily, the encouraging news is tempered by the increased rates and spread of the virus. She said the U.S. needs to continue ramping up its vaccination program, but communities need to do their part, as well.
Walensky encouraged communities to consider adjustments to meet their unique needs and circumstances. Areas seeing substantial or high community transmission, she said, should consider refraining from indoor youth sports or activities that cannot be conducted at least six feet apart. Similarly, she said large events should also be deferred.
Her comments come following the Texas Rangers Major League Baseball team hosting a crowd of 38,000 fans for its home opener this week.
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