Officials inside the White House and federal health agencies haven't been able to forge a consensus about whether the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases in the United States is worth panicking about, Politico reports.
Three senior administration officials told Politico the Biden administration is working hard to not call the increase a "surge" because they want to instill confidence in the national vaccine drive, which has been picking up steam. And there is optimism that vaccinations are indeed preventing a much more severe spike — President Biden's chief science officer, David Kessler, said his "educated guess is without vaccines, we would be in a surge right now."
But that doesn't mean the trajectory isn't worrying. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky said she's experiencing a feeling of "impending doom" on Tuesday, after all.
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For his part, Kessler settled on a middle ground. "You're seeing a slight increase in cases, but you're certainly not seeing a continued drop in cases," he told Politico. "That's the issue. You're plateauing at a high level of crisis." Read more at Politico.
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