The White House COVID-19 response team held a regularly scheduled briefing on Monday as both the vaccination rate in the U.S. and numbers of new cases of the virus continue to rise.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the U.S. has administered 187 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine since December. According to Bloomberg, that number has risen steadily in recent weeks, as the U.S. is injecting an average of 3.1 million doses of vaccine each day.
CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky reported Monday that the U.S. set a record Saturday by administering 4.6 million doses of vaccine in a single day. That barely tops the number of vaccines the country administered on March 13.
However, the U.S. continues to see a concerning rise in new COVID-19 cases. The country is currently averaging more than 66,000 new cases a day — up from a low of about 52,000 daily cases in mid-March.
Last week, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said that data shows that most new cases of COVID-19 are occurring in younger people, and that the agency has seen clusters of cases caused by youth sports and daycare centers. She called on Americans to continue adhering to public health guidance, particularly when it comes to mask-wearing and physical distancing.
The rise in cases is fueling fears among health experts about a potential fourth surge of the virus — one that could be more contagious and deadly due to the continued spread of the B-117 variant.
Among those hardest hit by the variant strain is Michigan, which has seen an alarming spread in cases in recent weeks. And while Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist have urged the White House to increase deliveries of vaccines to Michigan to combat the rise in cases, Walensky said that vaccines have a "delayed effect" and would do little to combat the immediate dangers in the state.
Instead, Walensky suggested "going back to where we were last spring" in parts of the state — shutting down some businesses and asking residents to stay home to "flatten the curve;"
Health experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci have warned that continued spread of the virus could lead to the further mutation of COVID-19. He’s said in past briefings that the virus is not able to mutate if it cannot spread and has said the best way to prevent further mutation is to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
The White House COVID-19 response team will hold its briefing Monday morning at 11 a.m. ET.