Coronavirus Cases Level Off, But CDC Says It's Not Time to Relax Yet

Cases in the U.S. have decreased in recent weeks, but new virus variants are bringing new threats.
Posted at 5:11 PM, Feb 27, 2021

Reports of new COVID-19 infections are leveling off. But the CDC says it's no time to relax - because of threats from new mutations of the virus.

There are more than 28 million cases and 510,000 deaths in the U.S. now, with the past week showing a 29 percent decrease in daily infections compared to two weeks earlier.

But the head of the CDC said Friday there's a concerning new shift in COVID-19's trajectory. That's because highly infectious new variants of the virus are forming and spreading. 

"We may be done with the virus but clearly the virus is not done with us," said CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky. We cannot get comfortable or give in to a false sense of security that the worst of the pandemic is behind us. Not now, not when mass vaccination is so very close."

More than 70 million vaccine doses have been administered in the U.S., and President Biden promises 100 million shots by April 30 - his 100th day in office. 

And a third vaccine would help in that mission. Health officials say 3.9 million doses of Johnson & Johnson's vaccine could be available soon - enough to increase vaccinations in states by 25 percent.

And still another pending vaccine, from AstraZeneca, could be a major weapon because it's been modified to tackle emerging COVID-19 variants. The vaccine is now being distributed internationally. But it is still undergoing American clinical trials, which must be completed before it can get emergency use approval in the U.S.

And another step in the pandemic - President Biden's economic relief package passed in the House Saturday, and now it's off to the Senate. But even with the progress on legislation - and vaccinations - the commander in chief isn't celebrating yet. 

"This is not a victory lap. Everything’s not fixed. We’ve got a long way to go."