The seven-day moving average of new cases of COVID-19 in the United States has risen again, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) pointing to a recent increase in travel as one of the culprits.
In recent weeks, there has been a significant increase in the number of travelers leaving by plane in anticipation of spring break. Travel + Leisure reports that the TSA has been in effect since the 11th hour. In March, more than one million passengers per day were screened at U.S. airports – a pandemic record that held for 19 consecutive days. More Americans go on spring break than on Christmas or New Year’s Eve.
Whether it’s because people are reaching their limits after a year at home or because the introduction of vaccines has created a false sense of security, it’s clear that many Americans are very cautious when they go on vacation.
The trend has been reinforced, despite the CDC’s continued and repeated calls for the public to refrain from secondary travel for some time, as an accelerated vaccination effort seeks to defeat the virus that has so far swept the country.
We are in a life-and-death race with a virus that is spreading rapidly, and the number of cases is rising again, President Joe Biden said yesterday at the White House. According to reports from Forbes and data from Johns Hopkins University, there has been a steady increase in illness over the past week in 30 states from coast to coast.
The latest national average over seven days is approaching 60,000 new cases of COVID-19 per day, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walenski said yesterday at a press briefing at the White House. That’s a 10% increase from last week, with a corresponding increase in hospital admissions and deaths.
Dr. Walenski shared his recurring sense of impending doom with the United States by repeating the pattern of increased infection that inevitably follows behaviors such as travel and socializing during the holidays. We know the rides are over, and I just worry that we will return to the swings we had in the summer and winter.
I think people took advantage of what they saw as a relative scarcity of cases, a relative calm in which we found ourselves, to enjoy their spring break and travel season, Walenski said. And I’d say we’ve seen a spike after every holiday….. You know, the fourth one. July, Labor Day, Christmas. And we’ll see how it goes now.
She went on to explain that the current trends in the United States show a similar pattern to how the pandemic unfolded in Europe a few weeks ago. And now these states are facing a new spike after letting their guard down during spring break.
We are not powerless; we can change the course of the pandemic. But we must all advocate for consistent public health prevention strategies to vaccinate the American people, Dr. Walenski said. We don’t have the luxury of doing nothing. For the health of our country, we must work together to prevent a fourth wave.
For more information, visit cdc.gov.
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