“While the instinct may be to celebrate together, we cannot get cocky,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement Saturday. “We must continue doing the things we know are effective at taming the virus: wear a mask, adhere to social distancing, and avoid gatherings.”
“We can beat this thing, but we must stay smart,” he added.
“When people get together in private residences in close proximity, that is one of the single most effective ways to spread this disease,” Kentucky Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack said last week. “We can’t afford to have the disease spread now, with these mutations and these variants.”
As Florida prepares to host the Super Bowl, both cases and hospitalizations across the state have been showing steady declines over the past month. Health officials reported more than 7,400 new Covid-19 cases Saturday and more than 140 new virus-related deaths.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, told MSNBC Friday “there will be other Super Bowls” in the future for Americans to resume their traditional celebrations.
“Enjoy the Super Bowl but don’t do it with a large crowd of people in your house, in a place where it’s cold and you don’t have good ventilation. It’s a perfect set-up to have a mini super-spreader event,” he said.
Why cases may be trending down
The dip in US Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations comes after several brutal months that saw regular grim records in those numbers.
The nationwide seven-day average of new cases also looks much different than it did a month ago: On January 6, the nation was averaging more than 220,000 new cases daily. On Saturday, the seven-day average was more than 120,000 new cases daily.
What’s likely behind the decline, according to Fauci, is that the natural course of the numbers surged after the holidays and are now stabilizing, combined with more Americans taking safety precautions.
“That’s what I think is going on: a combination of the natural peaking, as well as people doubling down on the public health measures,” Fauci told MSNBC Friday.
And while many parts of the country have loosened restrictions amid declines in their numbers, others are doubling down on safety precautions.
“The virus is really easily transmitted when you don’t have a face covering on, so when you’re indoors to eat or drink and you have to take your face covering off, that’s like the perfect environment for this virus to get transmitted,” Ferrer said.
“Yesterday, we spoke directly to those bars who continue to break every guideline put in place by this Administration to protect our residents,” Peter Bowen, deputy chief administrative officer for the city’s Office of Business & External Services, said in a statement.
“We said we knew who you were, what you were doing, and how you were trying to hide what you were doing, and WHAT we were going to do if you continued,” Bowen added in his statement. “This is what we mean, and we’re not done yet.”
More than 30 million Americans got first vaccine dose
Meanwhile, more than 30 million Americans have gotten at least their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 8 million Americans have gotten both of their vaccine doses, CDC data shows.
In Houston, government officials called for more doses of the Covid-19 vaccine to be sent to local publicly-run hospitals that reach those communities.
“You can have the best healthcare in the world, but if people can’t access it, it’s like you don’t have it at all,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said in a Saturday news conference.
Local leaders said some hospitals that are open to uninsured people are getting a smaller percentage of doses than private hospitals — but 88% of the doses they provide are to people of color.
“If you want to address the disparity, you’ve got to send the doses to the venues that are reaching those regions,” Turner said.
“New Yorkers with testing or vaccination appointments at these sites will receive notification of these suspensions via text message and telephone. Appointments will be rescheduled for later in the week,” a news release from the governor’s office said.
CNN’s Elizabeth Joseph, Andy Rose, Kay Jones, Hollie Silverman, Lauren Mascarenhas, Melissa Alonso and Rebekah Riess contributed to this report.