Last week, White House COVID-19 coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha warned in an interview with the Associated Press that the U.S. will be “increasingly vulnerable” to the coronavirus this fall and winter if Congress doesn’t swiftly approve new funding for more vaccines and treatments.
Increasing numbers of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations are putting more of the country under renewed guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that call for masking and other precautions. About a third of the U.S. population lives in areas that are considered at higher risk, mostly in the Northeast and Midwest. Those are areas where people should already be considering wearing masks indoors, but Americans elsewhere should also take notice, Dr. Jha said.
For an increasing number of areas, “we urge local leaders to encourage the use of prevention strategies like masks in public indoor settings and increasing access to testing and treatment,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky at a White House briefing with reporters.
However, the CDC officials were cautious about making concrete predictions, saying how much worse the pandemic gets will depend on several factors, including to what degree previous infections will protect against new variants. Dr. Jha warned that without additional funding from Congress for the virus would cause “unnecessary loss of life” in the fall and winter, when the U.S. runs out of treatments.
White House COVID response coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha attributed a decrease in severe illness and deaths to therapeutics like Pfizer's Paxlovid, despite an increase in COVID infections https://t.co/K1TixRdLqh pic.twitter.com/p8suHWh1Gu
— Reuters (@Reuters) May 18, 2022