Experts warned the US could be in the calm before the storm ahead of another possible surge in Covid-19 cases fueled by variants, and urged local and state leaders not to ditch their safety measures and restrictions.
“We’re … seeing what happens in other countries when these variants take over,” emergency physician Dr. Leana Wen told CNN Monday night. “There is (an) explosive surge, even when the countries are basically in shutdown.”
Wen, who is a former Baltimore City Health Commissioner, added that the US faces “something really potentially catastrophic, and we should be doubling down on the measures that we know to work.”
More than 690 cases of Covid-19 variants first spotted in the UK, South Africa and Brazil have been reported in the US, according to CDC data updated Sunday.
Wen’s comments follow several state leaders’ announcements on easing of Covid-19 safety measures.
North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum announced last month the statewide mask mandate would be allowed to expire, telling CNN last week he was not concerned Covid-19 numbers would go up. In Iowa, Gov. Kim Reynolds recently signed an executive order ending all mask requirements, gathering restrictions and other public health emergency mandates, while encouraging residents to follow recommended safety guidelines.
And New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday New York City indoor dining can reopen at 25% capacity on February 12.