Walensky: ‘Right direction’ but must be ‘vigilant’

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky said Wednesday the U.S. is “heading in the right direction” but must stay “vigilant” as the winter approaches.

Walensky reported during a briefing that the seven-day daily average of COVID-19 cases has declined to about 65,900 per day as of Tuesday, a 16 percent reduction from last week.

“Down from our peak in early September, we are now heading in the right direction,” she said. “But with cases still high, we must remain vigilant heading into the colder, drier winter months.”

Hospitalizations and deaths have also dropped from peaks in recent months, with COVID-19 hospital admissions falling 54 percent since the last week of August when the highly transmissible delta variant was pummeling the country.

The seven-day average for hospitalizations reached about 5,500 per day this week in a 12 percent decrease from the previous week.

While the death rate has dropped, Walensky noted that the average for daily deaths still remains higher than 1,000 fatalities, with a 1,100 average reported Tuesday.