Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky went off-script at a briefing Monday, making an emotional plea to Americans not to let up on public health measures amid worries of a fourth wave.
“I’m going to reflect on the recurring feeling I have of impending doom,” Walensky said. “We do not have the luxury of inaction. For the health of our country, we must work together now to prevent a fourth surge.”
The White House coronavirus response team is looking to confront the current dichotomy in the country, where optimism from the speed of the vaccine rollout should be balanced with continued restraint to move forward to normalcy.
“The thing that’s different this time is we actually have it in our power to be done with this scale of vaccination, and that will be so much slower if we have another surge to deal with as well,” Walensky said.
“I’m speaking today not necessarily as your CDC director, but as a wife, as a mother, as a daughter to ask you to just please hold on a little while longer. I so badly want to be done. I know you all so badly want to be done. We are just almost there, but not quite yet.”
Coronavirus cases across the country are rapidly rising due to variants of the virus becoming more widespread alongside the uptick in travel and states loosening restrictions.
Although 72% of Americans 65 and older have already received at least one dose of the vaccine, millions of Americans remain vulnerable.
Walensky said she is speaking with governors tomorrow to address the rise in cases.