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Covid US: NIH head says people may have to do things they don't want to to avoid lockdowns

Americans may have to do things they don't want to do to avoid another series of lockdowns, the director of the National Institutes of Health said on Monday.

Over the last three weeks, COVID-19 cases have risen more than 300 percent from an average of nearly 20,000 per day to about 80,000 per day.

In appearance on ABC's Good Morning America, Dr Francis Collins was asked what he thinks fall 2021 will look like.  

'We want to avoid lockdowns at all costs, but that means we're going to have to do some other things that won't necessarily be welcomed by people,' he said.

He said this may included people wearing masks at parties and children wearing masks in schools regardless of vaccination status. 

Dr Francis Collins said on Monday (pictured) that to 'avoid lockdowns at all costs' will require doing 'other things that won't necessarily be welcomed by people'

Examples include fully vaccinated people wearing masks to indoor parties and kids wearing masks in schools regardless of vaccination status. Pictured: A man wears a facemask as he arrives at a subway station in New York, Monday

It comes as the U.S. recorded 25,141 new cases on Sunday with a seven-day average of 79,951, a 312% increase from the 19,400 recorded three weeks ago (above)

After kids headed back to school in September 2020, COVID-19 cases began rising again across the country, reaching an average of more than 100,000 per day in November.

It led to another series of lockdown and stay-at-home orders across the country including office closing, capacity restrictions and restaurants only available to offer outdoor dining.

To prevent this from happening again, Collins said people will need to strictly follow mitigation measures. 

Some examples included vaccinated people donning face coverings to attend indoor parties, citing the recent CDC report that found 74 percent of cases in a COVID-19 outbreak in Provincetown, Massachusetts, were among the fully vaccinated. 

Collins said he knows that masks are 'not popular with kids or parents' but they may be needed in schools to curb transmission. 

'But if we want to avoid more severe outcome that might lead to more extreme measures like lockdowns, we know what to do, we just need to do it,' Collins told host George Stephanopoulos . 

'And oh my goodness, it will be so good if we can have that conversation about the data and the evidence and the public health arguments and get politics out of it. Unfortunately, that's not where we are at the present time in the United States of America.'

 However, there are also bright spots. After weeks of lagging COVID-19 vaccinations, the pace is picking up with U.S. recording more than 700,000 shots five days in a row.

On Saturday, more than 816,000 shots were administered, marking the fifth day in a row that the country had given out more than 700,000 shots.

What's more, the seven-day rolling average is now above 662,000, which is the highest figure seen since early July.

At the same time, between Tuesday and Saturday, the U.S. recorded more than 700,000 vaccinations per day, rising 56% in two weeks (above)

As of Monday morning, 70 percent of U.S. adults have received at least one vaccine dose, meaning the nation hit President Joe Biden's goal of 70 percent, albeit nearly a month after his July 4 deadline. 

'Today we hit 70% of adults w/ at least one dose! +468K doses reported administered, incl. 320K newly vaccinated (vs. 257K last Monday),' tweeted Cyrus Shahpar, the White House's COVID-19 data director.

'7-day average of newly vaccinated highest since July 4. Let's continue working to get more eligible vaccinated!'  

In appearance on CNN's State of the Union on Sunday, Dr Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, said vaccination rates have risen 56 percent across America in the last two weeks.

He also told host Jake Tapper that he hopes the threat of the Delta variant has helped convince vaccine hesitant Americans to get the vaccine. 

'People are waking up to this. This may be a tipping point for those who have been hesitant to say: "OK, it's time,"' Collins said. 

'I hope that's what's happening. That's what desperately needs to happen if we're going to get this Delta variant put back in its place.' 

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