President Biden warned Friday that increased COVID-related restrictions could again become a possibility as the U.S. sees spiking coronavirus cases nationwide.
In response to questions by reporters about whether Americans can expect more restrictions, the president answered, “In all probability.”
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Biden did not go into detail as to what those restrictions could entail, but in an interview with Fox News Friday evening Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky said the administration is looking into the possibility of a vaccine mandate.
“I am all for more vaccination,” Walensky said. “But, I have nothing further to say on that except that we are looking into those policies.”
The CDC director pointed out that several vaccines that once had high infection and death rates are now widely required in settings like public schools, including vaccines for polio, measles and diphtheria.
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Walensky said she understands the pushback but added, “The best way to stop a new variant from spreading is to have less virus out there and the best way to do that is to get people vaccinated and to mask up until they are.”
This week the CDC reported that the number of confirmed cases increased by 64 percent over the last week – bringing caseloads back on par with figures reported in mid-February.
New mask ordinances have arisen nationwide with federal agencies, privately owned corporations, and state-based communities implementing new mandates.
Roughly 50 percent of the U.S. is vaccinated and more than 57 percent have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
But the Delta variant has brought a renewed threat to the pandemic.
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President Biden encouraged states to offer $100 incentives to get more shots in people’s arms and GOP lawmakers have more aggressively taken on encouraging constituents to get inoculated.
The White House said Friday it is not considering entering into another economic shutdown.
Charles Creitz contributed to this report.