Biden Says He Shares CDC Director’s Sense Of ‘Impending Doom’ On The Pandemic

USA Today

Anders Hagstrom White House Correspondent
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President Joe Biden said he shares Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky’s sense of “impending doom” on the pandemic, warning that Americans are becoming too lax on lockdown measures.

Biden made the announcement during a Monday speech at the White House updating the country on his administration’s ongoing efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

“We share the sentiment of Dr. Walensky, the head of the CDC,” Biden said. “The CDC expressed earlier today that this is not the time to lessen our efforts. That’s what she said.”

“We’re giving up hard-fought, hard-won gains,” Biden said. “If we let our guard down now, we could see the virus getting worse, not better.”

He implored citizens to continue wearing masks and for businesses to continue requiring them even as many states loosen pandemic guidelines.

Biden also responded to a shouted question from reporters following his speech, saying governors of “some states” should pause their reopening efforts. He did not specify which states.

Biden’s gloomy tone echoed Walensky’s report on COVID-19 efforts earlier Monday, saying that a possible surge in cases has her “scared” and fearing “impending doom.” CDC data showed a 6.7% increase in new weekly cases last week and a 0.1% increase in hospitalizations. (RELATED: Biden Kicks Off First Solo Press Conference By Declaring New Vaccine Goal: 200 Million Vaccinations In First 100 Days)

“When I first started at CDC about two months ago, I made a promise to you. I would tell you the truth even if it was not the news you wanted,” Walensky said.

“Now is one of those times when I have to share the truth and I have to hope and trust you will listen. I’m gonna pause here, I’m gonna lose the script and I’m gonna reflect on the recurring feeling I have of impending doom,” the CDC director said. “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.”

Biden went on to announce that 90 percent of Americans will both be eligible for a vaccine and be within 5 miles of a vaccination center of vaccine-equipped pharmacy by April 19. He said the remaining 10 percent of American adults will be eligible for vaccinations before May 1.