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WASHINGTON -- COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have jumped back upward as several governors across the country are lifting restrictions that curb the spread of the virus. The increase in cases and premature lifting of restrictions prompted Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to implore Americans on Monday to stay the course on mask wearing and social distancing.
According to a Bloomberg tracker, nearly 16 percent of Americans have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. That’s far short of the 75-85 percent of the population health experts say need to be vaccinated to activate herd immunity and effectively neutralize the spread of the virus.
In response, Matt Wellington, U.S. PIRG’s public health campaigns director, released the following statement:
“As has often been the case throughout this pandemic, we are our own worst enemy. Even though vaccinations are rapidly increasing across the country, with new, more transmissible variants of the coronavirus circulating, it’s too soon to lift restrictions that curb the spread of the virus. Yet, several governors are doing just that, lifting mask mandates and opening high-risk businesses including bars and restaurants featuring indoor dining.
“We have the ability to put the worst of this crisis behind us soon. However, to do so, we have to put public health before economic recovery. Before reopening. Before ‘getting back to normal.’ If we want to save our grandparents, our parents, ourselves, we must put public health first. In fact, the only way to repair the economy and return to normal at all is to put public health first.”
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