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WASHINGTON, Feb 16: Director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Rochelle Walensky said Wednesday the current seven-day daily average of cases is about 147,000 cases per day, a decrease of about 40 percent over the previous week. “The seven-day average of hospital admissions is about 9,500 per day, a decrease of about 28 percent over the previous week,” she noted at a joint press conference with Coordinator of the White House Coronavirus Task Force Jeffrey Zients. “Omicron cases are declining, and we are all cautiously optimistic about the trajectory we are on. “Things are moving in the right direction, but we want to remain vigilant, to do all we can so that this trajectory continues. “We see the omicron wave continue to wane,” Walensky pointed out.
“As I said last week, we are looking at all of our guidance based not only on where we are right now in the pandemic, but also on the tools we now have at our disposal — disposal, such as vaccines, boosters, tests and treatments, and our latest understanding of the disease. “As we consider future metrics, which will be updated soon, we recognize the importance of not just cases, which continue to result in substantial or high community transmission in over 97 percent of our counties in the country, but, critically, medically severe disease that leads to hospitalizations. “We must consider hospital capacity as an additional important barometer. Our hospitals need to be able to take care of people with heart attacks and strokes. Our emergency departments can’t be so overwhelmed that patients with emergent issues have to wait in line. “We are assessing the most important factors based on where we are in the pandemic, and will soon put guidance in place that is relevant and encourages prevention measures when they are most needed to protect public health and our hospitals,” she went on.
“We want to give people a break from things like mask wearing when these metrics are better, and then have the ability to reach for them again should things worsen. “If and when we update our guidance, we will communicate that clearly, and it will be based on the data and the science. “However, it’s also important to remember, regardless of the level of disease burden in your community, there are still very important times to continue to wear your mask,” she added. On his part, Jeffrey Zients said, “We’re moving toward a time when COVID isn’t a crisis but is something we can protect against and treat.” “The president (Joe Biden) and our COVID-19 team are actively planning for this future. As we look forward, we’ll continue to enhance the powerful set of tools that we have at our disposal; vaccines, booster shots, tests and treatments. “We’ll have more to say on this in the coming weeks. And while we’re not where we all want to be yet, we’re encouraged by the dramatic declines we’re seeing in cases and hospitalizations nationwide,” he added (KUNA) —