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US on Path Out of Pandemic, CDC Chief Says

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the most recent figures indicate ‘we should all have cautious optimism.’

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky Tuesday said the United States appears to be on a path out of the pandemic, noting the most recent seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases and deaths is the lowest since the pandemic began.

During a White House COVID-19 Response Team briefing, Walensky said the most recent figures indicate “we should all have cautious optimism.”

Senior White House COVID-19 adviser Andy Slavitt added to the good news, noting case numbers this past week were down in all 50 states also for the first time in the pandemic.

While vaccination rates have slowed, Walensky said the U.S. continues to vaccinate 1.5 and 2 million people per day. She said in less than a week since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the CDC authorized and recommended use of the Pfizer vaccine for adolescents 12 and older, more than 600,000 young people received the vaccine.

Walensky also noted that 60% of all Americans 18 or older have received at least one shot, a good sign the nation will easily meet U.S. President Joe Biden’s goal of having 70% with at least one shot by the 4th of July.

During the same briefing, Senior White House Medical Advisor Anthony Fauci sought to reassure Americans about the efficacies of the COVID-19 vaccines. He presented recent studies showing the current vaccines available in the U.S. are proving effective in providing protection against variant strains of the virus, including the B.1.6.7 variant, originally identified in India.

Walensky said the CDC is working on its guidance for U.S. school-age children for when they return to school later this year or, perhaps, attend summer camps in the next few months. She said the guidelines will be based on how many young people may be vaccinated in the next few months, so they are still being developed.