Fauci says some Covid-19 guidelines to be relaxed soon in US

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may soon relax some Covid-19 precautionary rules aimed at curbing the spread of the disease, said top US infectious disease official Anthony Fauci on Tuesday.

“I believe you’re going to be hearing more of the recommendations of how you can relax the stringency of some of the things, particularly when you’re dealing with something like your own personal family, when people have been vaccinated,” Fauci said, adding he expected the new guidance “pretty soon.”

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The statement comes in the backdrop of a plunging death rate due to Covid-19 in the US.

Deaths fall for third week

Deaths from Covid-19 in the United States fell for a third straight week last week, as cases and hospitalizations both showed steep drops.

The positive trends come as the US death toll from the pandemic hit 5,00,000, though health experts have warned about a possible resurgence in cases due to new and more contagious variants of the coronavirus.

Deaths linked to Covid-19 fell 37% in the week ended Feb. 21 to 13,636, according to a Reuters analysis of US state and county reports. Excluding a backlog of deaths reported by Ohio in the prior week, deaths on an adjusted basis fell 17%.

The country reported more than 4,91,000 new cases last week, but that was down 23% from the previous seven days. New cases have fallen for six straight weeks and are down 72% from their peak in early January. Compared to the previous week, new cases rose in only seven out of 50 states.

However, with the country logging 70,000 new cases on average per day, residents may be wearing masks into 2022, said Fauci.

“That’s still a very high level of virus in the community,” he said.

The average number of Covid-19 patients in US hospitals fell 17% to 61,400 last week, the lowest since mid-November, according to a Reuters report.

Nationally, 5.3% of Covid-19 tests came back positive for the virus, the lowest level since the week ended 18 October last year. The positive test rate remained above 20% in four states: South Dakota, Kansas, Alabama and Idaho.

With inputs from agencies.

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