WASHINGTON – The White House Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Anthony Fauci, warned heads of state on Sunday that the nation's fight against coronavirus was still "not in the end zone" and urged Americans to abide by public health measures as Europeans see new spikes in infection experience.
"When I hear how I withdraw completely from measures in the area of public health and say no more masks, nothing like that, it is a risky business," said Fauci during an interview with "Meet the Press".
"Don't spike the ball on the five-yard line. Wait until you get to the end zone. We're not in the end zone yet," he said, adding that early public health withdrawals are adding to the pandemic could extend.
On Fox News, Fauci stated that the recent surge in cases across Europe was due in part to a loosening of security measures.
"If you see the level flattening out at a high level, there is always the risk of another increase, and unfortunately that is exactly what is happening in Europe right now," said Fauci on Fox News Sunday.
"They [Europeans] thought they were home free and they weren't and now they are seeing an increase," he added. "If you wait a little longer to give the vaccination program a chance to increase protection in the community, withdrawing is a lot less risky."
Fauci's comments come as Europe stumbles upon vaccine administration and some countries report a third wave of the highly infectious disease.
"Eastern Europe looks very bad right now, Italy looks bad, but I think the US is in a very different situation," said Dr. Scott Gottlieb during an interview on CBS's Sunday program "Face the Nation".
"I think we are in a different situation than Europe because of the vaccine immunity we are getting into the population," added the former Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.
The U.S. administered 107 million vaccines on Sunday afternoon, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 27 percent of adults have received at least one dose so far.
According to a CNBC analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University, new infections with Covid in the US continued to decline, down 11% on Saturday compared to the previous week. However, according to the data, infections remain high, averaging more than 50,000 per day. And in the US, an average of more than 1,400 people still die from the virus each day.
As the trends in the US are improving compared to the winter increase, Europe is now facing a new wave of infections. Italy, Germany, Poland and Hungary have reported severe peaks, and the Czech Republic and Slovakia have some of the highest death rates in the world.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi locks the majority of the country on Easter weekend to curb the spread of the virus. Some regions of the country will be subject to stricter public health measures as of Monday.
German health officials have announced that the country is experiencing a third wave of the virus.
The rise in infections occurs as Europe struggles with the introduction of vaccines. Several European countries discontinued the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine after recipients reported blood clots. At least nine countries around the world, including Ireland, Denmark, Norway and Iceland, have stopped using the vaccine for safety reasons.
Last week, the World Health Organization said it had carefully examined the matter and determined that "the results and any changes to our current recommendations will be communicated to the public immediately".
Continue reading: According to the WHO, reports of blood clots are being studied in people who have received an AstraZeneca Covid vaccine
AstraZeneca said in a statement Friday that there is "no evidence" that the vaccine causes an increased risk of developing blood clots.
Last week, in his first prime-time address, President Joe Biden urged Americans to remain vigilant about the disease by following public health measures. Biden also set a goal for Americans to gather in small groups to celebrate July Fourth.
When asked if the July fourth goal was realistic, Gottlieb told CBS that he expected much of the country to look better before that holiday.
"I think when we get into April the situation will look better across the country, but there will be pockets with breakouts and there will be pockets in which some of these variations are more common," said Gottlieb.
"Overall, I think the nation is still doing well," he added.