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White House COVID Response Team Warns Against Complacency As COVID Metrics Plateau

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57083 new coronavirus cases and 751 deaths from the disease were reported in the United States on Monday. With this, the national total of COVID cases increased to 29495420, according to latest data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

The U.S. COVID death toll rose to 535628.

California and Texas, the two worst-affected states, reported more than 100 COVID deaths while New York had the most number of daily new infections - 7119.

CDC's most recent data show that cases continue to fluctuate somewhere between 50,000 and 60,000 per day, with the most recent seven-day average approximately 52,500 cases per day. The most recent seven-day average of hospital admissions has also declined to just more than 4,700 per day.

The United States continues to see decline in deaths, with the latest seven-day average just over 1,200 deaths per day, far better than where the country was in early January.

Director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Rochelle Walensky said that more than 1.3 million travelers passed through U.S. airports Friday, which is the highest number in a single day since last March, before the WHO declared the global pandemic.

"We have seen footage of people enjoying spring break festivities maskless. This is all in the context of still 50,000 cases per day. Equally concerning are the resurgences we are now seeing in some European countries. Each of these countries has had nadirs like we are having now, and each took an upward trend after they disregarded known mitigation strategies. They simply took their eye off the ball. These should be warning signs for all of us," Walensky said at a Press Briefing Monday.

"Cases climbed last spring. They climbed again in the summer. They will climb now if we stop taking precautions when we continue to get more and more people vaccinated," she told reporters.

The CDC chief shared positive information emerging from nationwide vaccination. Quoting data from a new CDC MMWR report, she said that the vast majority of people are receiving both doses of anti-coronavirus vaccines within the recommended time frames. Based on the report, only about 3 percent missed their second dose.

She added that the UK variant of coronavirus would be dominant in the U.S. by the end of March, or early April.

White House COVID-19 Response Team Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt announced that the Biden administration will nearly double Medicare's reimbursement rates for administering COVID vaccines, from about $23 per shot to $40 per shot. That translates to a total of $80 for a two-dose vaccine.

He also announced that under the American Rescue Plan, the administration will cover 100 percent of the cost for Medicaid and children's health insurance beneficiaries to get vaccinated. This protects states from bearing any costs associated with the increased Medicare reimbursement rates.

He said that healthcare providers across the country are administering an average of 2.4 million vaccine shots per day.

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