U.S. COVID Task Force says new cases on decline but variants pose threat

FILE PHOTO: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci addresses the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 21, 2021. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - New COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations appear to be on a downward trajectory in the United States as the Biden administration remains confident that it can hit its target of 100 million vaccines in 100 days, the White House Coronavirus Task Force said on Wednesday.

However, Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, warned that new COVID-19 variants popping up across the country could threaten that positive momentum.

Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious-disease expert, said Americans should continue to follow social distancing guidelines and added that there’s no harm if people want to “double mask” for added protection.

(The story in 2nd paragraph, corrects spelling of CDC director’s first name to Rochelle, not Rachel)

Reporting by Lisa Lambert, Jarrett Renshaw and Michael Erman, Editing by Franklin Paul and Alistair Bell