Homeland Security

Iran Press TV

White House warns of 'fourth wave' of COVID-19 and 'new pandemic' in US

Iran Press TV

Tuesday, 06 April 2021 8:37 AM

A White House health advisor has warned of a "new pandemic" and a "fourth wave" of COVID-19 in the United States, saying even vaccinated Americans should still avoid non-essential travel.

Michael Osterholm, a member of the White House COVID-19 advisory board, warned that vaccinations are not complete protection.

"It's not perfect, it's not 100 percent [protection from COVID-19]," he said of the three vaccines in the US, including Pfizer vaccine.

"We do have a problem right now from a public health standpoint nuancing that message," he said, warning that Americans should avoid air travel if it's non-essential. .

Osterholm warned of COVID variants creating a "new pandemic" and a "fourth wave" of surging COVID-19 cases, though he says vaccines have been successfully combating variants.

"I believe that, in some ways, we're almost in a new pandemic," he said in an interview.

"In terms of the United States, we're just at the beginning of this surge. We haven't even really begun to see it yet," added Osterholm, who is also the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

The average number of new coronavirus infections reported each day in the US is higher than it has been in a month. The number of people in hospitals with COVID-19 has been stubbornly stagnant since mid-March, new data shows.

The pandemic has been cyclical, Osterholm said. Cases pile up in the Northeast or the Midwest, subside, and then swell in the South.

Anthony Fauci, the government's top infectious-disease expert, earlier said, "It's kind of like a race between the potential for a surge and our ability to vaccinate as many people as we possibly can," adding that, "And hopefully, if you want to make this a metaphorical race, the vaccine is going to win this one."

He cast doubt on the prospect of another national surge in the US, saying vaccines are the X-factor that was absent during the first, summer and winter waves.

Fauci made the comments after Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sounded alarm about the coming weeks.

"I'm going to lose the script, and I'm going to reflect on the recurring feeling I have of impending doom. We have so much to look forward to, so much promise and potential of where we are, and so much reason for hope. But right now, I'm scared."

President Joe Biden has pleaded with US cities and states that lifted safety precautions to reinstate them.

"Please, this is not politics," Biden said last week. "Reinstate the mandate if you let it down, and businesses should require masks as well. A failure to take this virus seriously — precisely what got us into this mess in the first place — risks more cases and more deaths."

At least 530 new coronavirus deaths and 76,594 new cases were reported in the United States on Monday.

As of Tuesday morning, more than 30,808,800 people in the United States were infected with the coronavirus, and over 555,000 died from the virus.

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