(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — With vaccinations up and a steadying of the nation’s COVID-19 infection rate, several states have begun loosening health and safety restrictions — as well as mask mandates — a move that Dr. Anthony Fauci says is not wise.
Fauci, the nation’s chief disease expert, referenced the uptick in COVID-19 cases in Europe and, now, in several states on Thursday. He also said vaccination efforts aren’t where they need to be in order to ensure the population is safe from new variants.
In a speech to the Senate’s Health committee, Fauci warned, “I’m concerned that if we pull back in our enthusiasm for the fact that vaccines are rolling out, and things look good, if we pull back prematurely, we may trigger another surge. And that would really set us back in all the things that we’re trying to do.”
Continued Fauci, “Europe is generally about three to four weeks ahead of us in the dynamics of their outbreak. And what they saw a little while ago was a plateauing of their decrement. They were coming down nicely, and then they plateaued. And then, just as you might have predicted, they then, one, started to go up.”
Poland, Italy and France is reporting a spike in cases and have doubled down on prevention measures. However, vaccination rates in Europe are lower than the pace of vaccinations in the U.S., adds Fauci.
Despite that, he still says America is not out of the woods yet as several states are already seeing a climb in daily infection rates.
Although the average COVID-19 infection rate has fallen about 32.5 percent over the last month, the news comes as at least a third of all states report a 10 percent rise in the average number of cases.
Those 15 states are: Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon and West Virginia.
Of those states, Delaware, Idaho, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon and West Virginia have seen a rise by at least 25 percent.