CDC director: Pandemic reaching 'another pivotal point'


CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, said the COVID-19 pandemic is at "another pivotal point" in the U.S. as hospitals in areas with low vaccination rates deal with fewer beds and more COVID-19 patients.

Dr. Walensky made the comments during a July 22 briefing from the White House's COVID-19 response team, according to The New York Times. While new cases, hospitalizations and deaths remain at a fraction of what they were at the pandemic's peaks, officials fear health systems in areas with low vaccination rates will be overwhelmed.

Rising cases also have renewed discussions around mask guidances. President Joe Biden said during a July 21 CNN town hall that the CDC will "probably" recommend children under age 12 who aren't yet eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine to wear masks in school this fall. Under current CDC guidance, teachers and students who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 don't need to wear masks at schools.

On masks, Dr. Walensky said during the briefing that the CDC's current guidance will remain in place, and "if you are vaccinated you get exceptional protection from the vaccines, but you have the opportunity to make the personal choice to add extra layers of protection."

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