Michigan’s spike has not been traced to any one event, but epidemiologists have noted that cases started to jump after the state eased restrictions for indoor dining on Feb. 1 and lifted other restrictions in January. Other hot spots included North Dakota, where cases rose by nearly 60 percent and Minnesota, where cases have jumped 47 percent.
Dr. Walensky on Monday described “a feeling of nausea” she would experience last year when, as a doctor at a Boston hospital, she saw the corpses of Covid-19 patients piled up, overflowing from the morgue; and when she stood, “gowned and shielded,” as the last one in a patient’s room before they died alone, without family.
At the time, she said, there were so many unknowns about the virus. But now, with the vaccination program rapidly gaining speed, she said, she is hopeful the pandemic can be beat.
“I know you all so badly want to be done. We are just almost there, but not quite yet,” she said.
Dr. Walensky, who has issued several warnings in recent weeks about the need to keep up mask-wearing and social distancing, said she planned to talk to governors on Tuesday about the risks of prematurely lifting restrictions. The White House holds a weekly call with governors about the vaccine rollout and other efforts to fight the pandemic.