Dr. Anthony Fauci on his way to a press conference, January 21, 2021


The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, has called for caution in the lifting of Coronavirus measures, even as mass vaccinations proceed.

Walensky said at a Monday briefing, “At this level of cases, with variants spreading, we stand to completely lose the hard-earned ground we have gained. We have the ability to stop a potential fourth surge of cases in this country.”

On Monday, public schools in Chicago reopened to tens of thousands of students. Massachusetts lifted capacity limits on restaurants and eased restrictions on public spaces such as roller skating rinks and movie theaters. South Carolina removed limits on large gatherings.

Walensky said the sharp drop since January in daily cases is plateauing and the situation “must be taken extremely seriously”: “I know people are tired; they want to get back to life, to normal. But we’re not there yet.”

US deaths reached 514,333 on Monday, with 1,242 in 24 hours. Confirmed cases are 28,659,784, an increase of 54,132.

ORIGINAL ENTRY, MARCH 1: Dr. Anthony Fauci, the US Government’s top Coronavirus advisor, urges Americans to take whichever vaccine is available to stem the pandemic.

Fauci spoke just before a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory panel recommended the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the third to be authorized in the US. The treatment was approved for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration on Saturday.

Fauci said he “would have no hesitancy whatsoever” in taking the vaccine, “The good news, it’s a single shot.”

The one-dose vaccine can be kept at refrigerator temperatures. The Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, which require two doses, must be kept in deep cooling.

In clinical trials, the Johnson & Johnson success has been 66% overall and 72 percent in the US in prevention of moderate to severe cases of Covid-19, compared to more than 95% for the other two vaccines.

However, the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna versions were tested well before the emergence of Coronavirus variants which may affect the efficacy of inoculations. Fauci explained, “You can understand that type of a concern, but in order to really compare vaccines, you have to compare them head to head. And these were not compared head to head.”

He added:

If you look at the efficacy against severe disease greater than 85%, there have been no hospitalisation or deaths in multiple countries, even in countries that have the variants.

All three of them are really quite good, and people should take the one that’s most available to them. People need to get vaccinated as quickly and as expeditiously as possible, and if I would go to a place where they had J&J, I would have no hesitancy whatsoever to take it.

The US death toll reached 513,091 on Sunday, with 1,097 fatalities in 24 hours. Confirmed cases are 28,605,652, an increase of 51,187.

Fauci: Too Soon to Ease Containment

The first 4 million Johnson and Johnson doses will be delivered soon, with the first shipments by Monday morning.

But specialists are cautioning that it will take some time for an escalation of supply, amid the Biden Administratin’s surge of vaccine distribution by 70% with 12 million weekly inoculations.

Fauci echoed CDC director Rochelle Walensky that Coronavirus measures should be maintained, as several states ease mask rules and reopen some businesses.

Once you start pulling back, the thing you don’t want is to have a plateauing at a level that’s so high that, inevitably, things are going to go back up,

Our baseline of daily infections now, even though it’s way down from where it was 300,000-plus per day, is down to around 70,000. That baseline’s too high. So it’s really too premature right now to be pulling back too much.

He cautioned, in response to calls for reopening of schools, that it may be “earliest the end of the year and very likely the first quarter of 2022” before children in elementary schools are vaccinated. High school students could be inoculated this fall.