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COVID-19 4th Wave Could Be Coming. Here’s What the CDC Is Saying

Vaccinations are happening, but relaxed restrictions, non-essential travel, and new variants are fueling a sizeable increase in new cases.

The specter of a fourth wave of COVID-19 is rising, with the director of the CDC issuing an unusually candid warning and imploring Americans to remain vigilant in following public health protocols and get vaccinated as soon as possible. Here’s what to know about a potential fourth COVID-19 wave, and why it’s happening when much of the COVID news of late has actually been good.

The Good COVID-19 News

More vaccines have been approved by the FDA, more people have become eligible for them, and more shots have gotten into arms in states around the country. As of yesterday morning, more than 95 million Americans have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine and nearly 146 million doses have been administered out of nearly 181 million delivered to vaccination sites.

The Bad COVID-19 News

While vaccine numbers rise, case numbers are rising too. New cases jumped by as much as 12 percent nationwide, and the seven-day average of new cases crept above 63,000 for the first time in nearly a month, according to the Washington Post, which pointed to spikes in Michigan, Vermont, and North Dakota. Relaxed COVID-19 restrictions, including ending mask mandates and opening restaurants and bars to full capacity, as well as widespread new COVID-19 variants, have made what was a bettering situation much, much worse.

President Biden has urged states like Texas to reinstate mask mandates and other restrictions in light of these rising numbers.

“We are giving up hard-fought, hard-won gains…this is not a time to lessen our efforts,” he said. “We could still see a setback in the vaccination program. And most importantly, if we let our guard down now we could see a virus getting worse, not better.”

So far, no governor has taken Biden’s advice.

Here’s What the CDC Is Saying

“Just please hold on a little while longer,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC director, said in her briefing. “I’m just asking you to hold on a little while longer, to get vaccinated when you can, so that all of those people that we all love will still be here when this pandemic ends.”

Walensky also said that she has the recurring feeling of “impending doom” that a fourth wave of COVID-19 cases is on its way and that a pattern like last weeks’ often means cases subsequently “surge and surge big.”