Dr Fauci implores students to ‘be prudent’ longer as spring break approaches: ‘We’re almost there’

‘We want people to have a good time on spring break, but don’t put your guard down completely,’ Dr Fauci says

Danielle Zoellner
New York
Wednesday 10 March 2021 20:34
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Miami Beach mayor expresses concern that spring break could cause another surge in Covid-19

Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, has asked the public not to "put their guard down" towards the coronavirus ahead of spring break plans.

Although not all schools and universities are back to in-person learning amid the pandemic, people have already starting to travel to other locations in celebration of spring break.

But Dr Fauci has asked the public not to grow complacent with Covid-19 still circulating communities.

"Whenever you get a situation where you're going to have people traveling to go to a separate location, where there's going to be a congregate setting, a festive atmosphere, it's totally understandable that people want to do that. But that's something that we've got to be very careful of," Dr Fauci said on CNN's New Day on Wednesday morning.

"We want people to have a good time on spring break, but don't put your guard down completely," he added. "Just be prudent a bit longer. We are going in the right direction, we're almost there."

Read more: Follow live updates from the Biden administration

The United States has surpassed more than 527,000 deaths from Covid-19 and more than 29 million people have contracted the novel virus.

New Covid-19 variants have spread throughout the country, with the UK-based B.1.1.7 variant and the new New York City-born variant, the B.1.526 variant, making up 51 per cent of current cases in New York City, causing concern among health officials.

These variants were believed to be more transmissible compared to older variants of the novel virus.

The US has recorded a decline in cases, hospitalisations, and deaths in the last two months following a holiday surge. New cases dropped from about 250,000 infections per day to between 60,000 and 70,000 per day currently. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has noticed a recent stall in the decline, prompting concerns that new variants could be impacting infection rates.

The federal agency announced new guidance for members of the public who are fully vaccinated with one of the Covid-19 vaccines, but it was still recommended for Americans to avoid non-essential travel.

"Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading Covid-19. Delay travel and stay home to protect yourself and others from Covid-19," the CDC said in recent communications from the agency.

CDC Director Dr Rochelle Walensky said on Monday that "every time there's a surge in travel, we have a surge in cases in this country", when advising against Americans participating in spring break this year.

The University of California, Davis, has even gone as far as offering students $75 grants to encourage them not to travel over spring break in an effort to prevent a surge on campus. These grants will be awarded to 500 applicants, the university said in a Facebook post.

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