Incoming CDC head warns US has ‘dark weeks ahead’ with COVID-19 pandemic

Dr. Rochelle Walensky says the country's death toll could reach 500,000 by the middle of next month.

News 12 Staff

Jan 19, 2021, 12:59 PM

Updated 1,281 days ago

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The U.S. has "dark weeks ahead" with the COVID-19 pandemic, that's the prediction from Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC's incoming director.
Walensky says the country's death toll could reach 500,000 by the middle of next month.
The announcement comes even as the U.S. tries to improve vaccine distribution in New York and across the nation.
About 60% of more than 24 million confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. were reported since Election Day 2020.
John Hopkins University reports new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. in the past week dropped 11% since the previous week’s peak, but health officials aren’t feeling optimistic yet.
"If only we'd had a national plan the last 10 months, what a big difference that would have made," says Dr. Leana Wen, a CNN medical analyst. One of the main area of concerns, is the bottlenecks with the vaccine rollout.
"We've distributed to the states about 31 million doses of vaccine, we've only given 12 million doses," says Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a CNN medical analyst. Another issue is the COVID-19 variant, first identified in the United Kingdom and is now spreading in the United States.
According to the CDC, at least 122 cases of the more contagious strain of the virus were confirmed in 20 states, including in New York.
"It will infect many, many more people and unfortunately, probably will end up killing more people than the current main strain that we've been dealing with for much of 2020," says Dr. Ashish Jha, of Brown University School of Public Health. President-elect Joe Biden says his administration’s goal is to deliver 100 million doses of vaccine in his first 100 days in office. "It's been very clear from the Biden team, they don't want to do a federal take-over, what they want to do is they want to partner with the states and they want to coordinate with states," says Dr. Jha.
White House sources say President Donald Trump plans to lift the executive order on COVID-19-related travel restrictions imposed on much of Europe and Brazil today.
However, President-elect Biden's spokeswoman tweeted that the incoming administration will not implement that order.


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