Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), went off-script during a Monday press briefing in an emotional claim that America is facing “doom.”
“I’m going to pause here, I’m going to lose the script,” Walensky said. “And I’m going to reflect on the recurring feeling I have of impending doom.”
“We have so much to look forward to, so much promise and potential where we are, and so much reason for hope, but right now I’m scared,” she continued, appearing to become emotional. “I know what it’s like as a physician to stand in that patient room gowned, gloved, masked, shielded, and to be the last person to touch someone else’s loved one because they’re not going to be there.” (RELATED: Biden Says He Shares CDC Director’s Sense Of ‘Impending Doom’ On The Pandemic)
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
“I know what it’s like when you’re the physician, when you’re the healthcare provider, and you’re worried that you don’t have the resources to take care of the patients in front of you,” Walensky added. “I know that feeling of nausea when you read the crisis standards of care and you wonder if there are going to be enough ventilators to go around and who’s going to make that choice.”
Walensky has warned states against lifting mask mandates and other coronavirus restrictions. Still, several states have chosen to lighten or completely end their restrictions, causing critics to warn of a potential new surge in cases. (RELATED: ‘Absolutely Reckless’: Gavin Newsom Slams Texas’s Decision To Lift Mask Mandate)
Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced March 2 that he was lifting all of the state’s coronavirus restrictions. Three weeks later, daily coronavirus cases are declining – according to the CDC, there were 7,747 new confirmed cases March 2, compared to 3,234 new confirmed cases March 25. As of March 25, the state had the lowest seven-day positivity rate in more than a year – 5.68%. Abbott said March 25 that coronavirus-related hospitalizations were at the lowest level in more than 5 months, and at the same time, vaccination supplies were increasing.
Wyoming, Mississippi and Montana have also relaxed their coronavirus restrictions. According to the New York Times (NYT), Wyoming and Mississippi have a lower number of new coronavirus cases, and that number has been staying low within the past 14 days. Montana has had a lower number of cases, but case numbers have gone up slightly in the past 14 days.
States like New York and Florida, however, have new cases that are higher and staying high, although still well below their peaks in January, according to NYT. Cases have been declining in both states since the peak, but have begun to rise. The two states took very different approaches to handle the pandemic – New York, although their restrictions have loosened a bit, implemented some of the most restrictive lockdown measures in the country, while Florida’s restrictions were fairly relaxed compared to many other states.
In total, 25 states and Washington D.C. have a higher number of coronavirus cases that are staying high, three states have a lower number of coronavirus cases that are going up and 22 states have a lower number of cases that are staying low, according to the NYT.
There has been no major surge in cases nationwide, although case numbers have ticked up over the past two weeks and are no longer consistently declining as they had from mid-January to early-March. Daily new case numbers have stabilized around 60,000 for most of March, according to the CDC. Testing positivity rate has increased slightly, but remains at one of the lowest levels of the pandemic, below 5%.
Hospitalizations flattened in March as well, but that metric may fall once again in the coming days. According to the most recent data available from March 27, hospitalizations fell from over 32,000 to just over 25,000. That’s the lowest number since the start of October.
The trend in daily COVID-19 deaths has not matched the trend in cases. While cases flattened throughout March and have seen a slight uptick at month’s end, deaths continued to decline, falling below 1,000 on March 26 for the first time since Nov. 9. (RELATED: ANALYSIS: There Is One Key Factor In Herd Immunity Everyone Seems To Be Ignoring)
Walensky’s feeling of impending doom does not square with the Biden administration’s positive messaging about America’s vaccination campaign. President Joe Biden has said that there will be enough vaccine doses for all American adults by the end of May. More than one-third of American adults have received at least one dose of a vaccine so far, according to The Washington Post.
The U.S. is approaching a seven-day average of three million vaccine doses administered per day. At that rate, nearly half of American adults will be fully vaccinated by the end of April, in addition to tens of millions more with natural immunity from contracting the virus.