The United States saw average daily new coronavirus cases dip below 100,000 for the first time in months, but health officials cautioned that states looking to relax their health mandates may be acting too soon.
The seven-day rolling average of new infections dropped below 100,000 on Friday and remained below that level on Saturday, creating the first stretch since early November that the country has seen similar levels.
Cases hit a seven-day rolling average of around 250,000 in January.
Centers for Disease Control Director Rochelle Walensky urged states not to jump to optimistic conclusions based on the recent numbers.
“We are still at around 100,000 cases a day,” Walensky told “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd. “We are still around 1,500 to 3,500 deaths per day.”
“It’s encouraging to see these trends coming down, but they’re coming down from an extraordinarily high place,” she added.
Walensky noted that these lower numbers are still more than twice what the nation recorded during the summer.
Deaths on Saturday hit a seven-day rolling average of around 2,500.
The U.S. is still trying to push more vaccinations, with the CDC recording 50 million vaccinations nationwide by the end of last week.
However, the appearance of COVID variants in the U.S. may be one reason that states need to maintain strict standards of public health policy.
The U.S. has recorded over one thousand cases of the U.K. variant across thirty-nine states. The U.K. variant has been measured as around 40 to 50 percent more transmissible.
“We have to continue wearing masks,” Walensky said. “We have to continue with our current mitigation measures, and we have to continue getting vaccinated as soon as that vaccine is available to us.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.