People line up to receive a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on the west side of downtown Manhattan, which has been converted to a mass vaccination site in New York City , New York, March 2, 2021.

Mike Segar | Reuters

WASHINGTON – The United States administered a record number of Covid-19 vaccines over the weekend as public health officials call on state leaders to keep social distancing measures in place to avoid further surge that could undermine progress in the fight against the virus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention administered 2.9 million vaccines on Saturday, a record, and 2.4 million on Sunday, according to the latest agency statement. Figures are subject to revision as more data becomes available to public health officials.

More than one in five adults have now received at least one dose of the vaccine, while just over one in ten have received two doses, according to the CDC. Moderna and Pfizer vaccines require two injections, while the recently approved Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires one.

Jeff Zients, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, told NBC’s “Meet The Press” on Sunday that the country now administers more than 2 million shots per day on average, compared to 900,000 daily injections on average over the course of the first days of the vaccination campaign. .

President Joe Biden said last week that the United States will have enough doses of the vaccine for every adult by the end of May, two months earlier than expected. However, Zients warned that if the country has made progress in increasing immunizations, the country must double its mitigation measures.

“We’re on the right track – we have to make sure we don’t let our guard down,” Zients said. “People have to take up the president’s challenge to mask themselves. People have to get vaccinated when it is their turn. We have to stay on this path and beat this pandemic.”

Zients joins a chorus of public health officials warning the country not to let down as several states drop mask warrants and relax other coronavirus restrictions as cases decline and vaccinations increase .

Last week, Arizona, Texas, Alabama, South Carolina, California and Mississippi all relaxed restrictions to varying degrees.

The Arizona governor has lifted capacity limits on businesses, but said they must still need masks. Texas also announced a return to full-capacity operations, but abandoned its mandate as a mask. The governor of Alabama said the state lift his mask mandate after April 9. South Carolina lifted the state’s mask mandate in government buildings, but recommended that restaurants continue to require masks.

California will allow theme parks, outdoor sports and live stadium events to restart on April 1 with reduced capacity and mandatory masks. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Sunday that the state would allow restaurants outside New York City to return to 75% capacity.

Mississippi also announced last week that businesses could operate at full capacity and abandoned the state’s mask mandate.

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves responded to criticism from public health officials that his decision to ease Covid restrictions was premature on Sunday.

“Our approach has been not only to protect lives, but also to protect livelihoods. We need to revive our economy so that individuals can return to work,” Reeves said in an interview with “The State of the World”. CNN’s ‘Union’.

White House chief medical adviser Dr Anthony Fauci has warned Americans to remain vigilant and adhere to public health measures as the administration strives to vaccinate the country.

“We want to come back carefully and slowly,” Fauci said on CBS News’s “Face the Nation”. “But don’t turn the switch on and off, because it would be really risky to have a new push again,” Fauci said of states changing mitigation methods.

Likewise, Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” program that the United States could see an increase in cases due to the new variants.

Osterholm explained on Sunday that the United States is “in the eye of the hurricane right now.”

Osterholm said the prevalence of the most infectious B.1.1.7. variant, which was first identified in the UK, will continue to grow. He added that around 40% of cases across the country are linked to the variant.

Although new Covid infections continue to decline since the catastrophic winter peak, they remain stubbornly high at more than 60,000 new cases per day on average, according to a CNBC analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University. It is comparable to the surge in the United States last summer.

Deaths have also declined since the devastating winter peak, but remain dangerously high. More than 1,700 people die from the virus on average each day, according to data from Johns Hopkins.

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