United States Shouldn’t Lift COVID-19 Restrictions Until Cases Die Down

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Ayden Nguyen, Writer

According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the United States should not lift or ease COVID-19 restrictions until after there are less than 10,000 new cases a day. Additionally, Dr. Fauci recommends that states slowly pull back on restrictions after most Americans have been vaccinated. Unfortunately, the last time the United States has had 10,000 cases per day was back in March of 2020. Since October, the cases haven’t been below 50,000, recently increasing to as much as 64,000. Dr. Fauci reassured that, “We will be pulling back. We’re now up to about 2 million vaccinations per day. That means every day that goes by, every that goes by, you have more and more people protected.” Fauci also reacted to states lifting restrictions such as mask mandates, allowing businesses to open, etc, saying that it is, “inexplicable.” Fauci is correct as not only are tens of thousands of Americans infected everyday, COVID-19 variants give the possibility of another surge. “I understand the need to want to get back to normality, but you’re only going to set yourself back if you just completely push aside the public health guidelines– particularly when we’re dealing with anywhere from 55-70 thousand infections per day in the United States,” stated Dr. Fauci. 

 

Alabama has been the latest state to ease restrictions with Governor Kay Ivey saying that the mask mandate will end on the evening of April 9. Additionally, the governors of Texas and Mississippi stated that they will lift mask mandates and allow businesses to work at full capacity immediately or in a few days. These announcements came when health experts warned that the spread of the more contagious COVID-19 variants risks sending infections rates up. Something that concerns health officials is the B.1.1.7 variant or the United Kingdom variant has now been found in 46 states as well as in Puerto Rico and Washington D.C. Someone with that variant can infect 43-90% more people than the original virus.

 

The Infectious Diseases Society of America(ISDA) stated that Americans must still follow COVID-19 safety procedures such as using masks, social distancing, washing hands, etc. “We can’t forget the lessons this pandemic has taught us or its terrible toll, and we must not relinquish the ground we’ve gained,” says Dr. Barbara Alexander, president of the ISDA. Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC), agrees and emphasizes the need for restrictions. She also encourages people to not hesitate to take the vaccine when available. California governor Gavin Newsom urged people in his state to “consider using an additional mask and double masking” while in public. Even in states where restrictions have been lifted, the people can still do the right thing and make the choice to use a mask according to Walensky.

 

After the Pfizer/BioNtech and Moderna vaccines, there has been a third vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson which was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration this week. This vaccine only requires a single dose, unlike the other two vaccines. This allows the vaccine to be easily distributed and stored. But some people who have been able to receive it have expressed some hesitancy. The public has heard that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is only 72% effective, compared to the 95% effective Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. This leads them to believe that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a supposed, “second class,” vaccine. Health experts deny this and encourage people to take the first vaccine available to them. “My big concern here is that the Johnson & Johnson[vaccine] is being labeled as the inferior vaccine when that’s not a fair assessment to make,” says Dr. Leana Wen, a CNN medical analyst. A team of bioethicists also wrote that, “In most aspects of US health care, patient preferences are paramount, and currently Americans remain free to decline vaccination against SARS-CoV-2. But among the willing a policy limiting choice among vaccines will bring efficiencies to the fair distribution of critically scarce resource.” As of the morning of March 5, 16.3% of Americans have received the first dose of the vaccine and 8.4% have had both.

 

Source: https://www.cnn.com/2021/03/04/health/us-coronavirus-thursday/index.html