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New U.S. COVID-19 cases plateau after steep drops

The United States reported a 3% decline in new cases of COVID-19 last week, a much smaller drop than in the previous six weeks, as health officials warned that progress against the global pandemic was stalling.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday said she was deeply concerned about a potential shift in the trajectory of the pandemic.

“These data are evidence that our recent declines appear to be stalling, stalling at over 70,000 cases a day. With these new statistics, I am really worried about reports that states are rolling back the exact public health measures we have recommended to protect people from COVID-19."

This news comes as the World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced an increase in global COVID-19 cases for the first time in 7 weeks.

“Some of it appears to be due to relaxing of public health measures, continued circulation of variants and people letting down their guard. Vaccines will help to save lives. But, if countries rely solely on vaccines, they are making a mistake."

He noted that Ghana and the Ivory Coast became the first countries on Monday to begin vaccinating people with doses supplied by COVAX, the international program to provide vaccines for poor and middle-income countries.

But he also criticized rich countries for hoarding vaccine doses, saying that it was in everyone's interest for vulnerable people to be protected around the world.

"It's regrettable that some countries continue to prioritize vaccinating younger healthier adults at lower risk of diseases in their own populations, ahead of health workers and older people elsewhere."

Meanwhile, the WHO’s top emergency expert Mike Ryan added that while it is too early to say that the virus was under control, the global fight against COVID-19 is in a better state now than it was 10 weeks ago before the vaccine rollout began.