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CDC director warns of possible Covid surge as U.S. cases increase by 7%


People enjoy themselves on the beach on March 04, 2021 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. College students have begun to arrive in the South Florida area for the annual spring break ritual.

Joe Raedle | Getty Images

The U.S. could suffer another surge in Covid-19 cases unless pandemic safety measures are maintained, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Friday.

The nation is recording a seven-day average of about 57,000 new Covid-19 cases per day, a 7% jump over the last week, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said during a White House news briefing on the pandemic. New hospitalizations are up “slightly” at roughly 4,700 admissions per day, she said.

“I remain deeply concerned about this trajectory,” Waleknsky said. “We have seen cases and hospital admissions move from historic declines to stagnations and increases. We know from prior surges that if we don’t control things now, there is a real potential for the epidemic curve to soar again.”

On Monday, the CDC again advised against travel, while Miami Beach, Florida, business owners fretted about spring break chaos. Miami Beach officials declared a state of emergency and ordered a rare curfew over the weekend, an effort to avoid spreading Covid-19 and stop large crowds and unruly behavior in the popular tourist destination.

U.S. health officials have been pushing Americans to get vaccinated as quickly as possible, especially as highly contagious and potentially more deadly variants continue to spread. New variants are especially a concern for public health officials as they could become more resistant to antibody treatments and vaccines.

Last week, White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said B.1.1.7, the highly contagious and potentially more deadly variant first identified in the U.K., likely accounts for up to 30% of Covid-19 infections in the United States.

While variant cases are growing, the pace of vaccinations in the U.S. has rapidly increased and has been averaging about 2.5 million doses per day in the past week, Walensky said. Roughly 87.3 million Americans have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine and about 47.4 million are fully vaccinated, according to data compiled by the CDC.

Walensky urged the public to “take this moment very seriously,” adding people should continue to wear masks, stay six feet apart and avoid crowds or traveling. “We can turn this around but it will take all of us working together,” she added.

-CNBC”s Will Feuer contributed to this report.

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