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US saw a record-breaking weekend in COVID-19 vaccine distribution

However, threat of another surge in cases looms
COVID-19 vaccine
Posted at 9:37 AM, Apr 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-05 15:18:11-04

The U.S. saw a record weekend in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, according to White House officials.

Cyrus Shahpar, the White House’s COVID-19 data director, says the U.S. distributed more than 4 million doses of vaccine on Saturday, marking the first time the country had broken the thresholds since the distribution began in December.

“Millions coming together to accelerate our progress toward controlling the pandemic!” Shahpar tweeted on Saturday.

The Easter holiday also did little to slow the current record pace of vaccinations. Shahpar says that the U.S. had administered 3.37 million doses on Sunday — its highest-ever output on a Sunday, and the fourth consecutive day where at least 3 million doses were administered.

According to Shahpar, 40% of adults in the U.S. have now received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. About 25% of the country is now fully vaccinated.

The increase in vaccinations comes as states begin lifting restrictions as to who is eligible to receive the vaccine. In March, President Joe Biden requested that all states drop restrictions as to who can receive the vaccine by the beginning of May, and said the country would have enough vaccines by the end of May to inoculate every American.

But as vaccine distribution continues its astounding pace, the COVID-19 case rate is continuing to tick up throughout the U.S. In the last two weeks, the seven-day rolling average of new daily COVID-19 cases has risen from about 53,000 a day to about 64,000 a day.

Last week, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky issued a stark warning about the rising number of COVID-19 cases, adding that she was “scared” the U.S. could be headed for an avoidable fourth surge of the virus — just as much of the country prepares for vaccination.

“I'm going to lose the script, and I'm going to reflect on the recurring feeling I have of impending doom. We have so much to look forward to, so much promise and potential of where we are and so much reason for hope. But right now, I'm scared,” Walensky said. “I'm speaking today not necessarily as your CDC director, not only as your CDC director, but as a wife, as a mother, as a daughter, to ask you to just please hold on a little while longer. I so badly want to be done. I know you all so badly want to be done. We are just almost there, but not quite yet."

The rising case rates come as states lift mask mandates and other COVID-19-related laws requiring social distancing against the advice of the CDC and other public health institutions.

The entire White House — including President Joe Biden, Walensky and other top health officials — publicly urged state governors and other local leaders last week to keep mask mandates in place for just a few more months in the hopes of avoiding another surge in cases.

Correction: A previous version of this story mistakenly stated that 40% of Americans have received at least one dose of vaccine. It has since been updated to reflect that only 40% of adults have received a vaccine dose.