HealthDay News — As COVID-19 cases begin to rise again across America, President Joe Biden on Monday called on governors to bring back state mask mandates.
Just hours earlier, Rochelle Walensky, M.D., head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, delivered an emotional plea to Americans to keep following social distancing measures to stem the spread of COVID-19. The former Harvard Medical School professor and infectious disease specialist described “a feeling of nausea” she experienced last year when, caring for patients at Massachusetts General Hospital, she saw the corpses of COVID-19 victims piled up, overflowing from the morgue. She recalled how she stood — “gowned, gloved, masked, shielded” — as the last one in a hospital room before a patient died alone.
“I am asking you to just hold on a little longer, to get vaccinated when you can, so that all of those people that we all love will still be here when this pandemic ends,” Walensky said during a media briefing. The nation has “so much reason for hope,” she added. Walensky appeared to fight back tears as she admitted to feeling a sense of “impending doom” about a possible fourth surge in infections.
Both appeals reflected a growing trepidation among top White House officials and government scientists. COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations are on the upswing, including a troubling rise in the Northeast, The New York Times reported. As of Sunday, the seven-day average of new virus cases was about 63,000. That was up from 54,000 a day two weeks earlier, an increase of more than 16 percent.