00:44 GMT07 March 2021
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci told reporters that the number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States may be plateauing.

    On the first day of his presidency, Joe Biden signed a bunch of executive orders in an attempt to address the novel coronavirus pandemic in the United States, including one directing steps to enhance federal government’s collection, production sharing, and analysis of specific data related to COVID-19 response and recovery, the COVID-19 National Strategy.

    "When you look more recently at the seven day average of cases - remember we were going between 300,000 and 400,000 and 200,000 and 300,000 - right now it looks like it might be actually plateauing in the sense of turning around," Fauci said during a press conference on Thursday.

    Biden said that the COVID-19 related death toll in country will likely exceed 500,000 by the month of February. He appealed to Americans to wear facial coverings until April, which according to Biden will save 50,000 lives.

    South African Strain of Coronavirus 'Concerning', Not Detected in US Yet

    “The one [COVID-19 strain] in South Africa is a little bit more concerning. But nonetheless, not something that we don't think that we can handle,” Fauci said on Thursday. “Thus far, it does not appear at all that the South African strain is in the United States.”

    However, Fauci noted that the level of virus surveillance in the United States is not at the level he would have liked to see. He also said that according to the existing data, vaccines will still be effective against the South African strain, as well as the UK variant of the coronavirus.

    On December 18, South Africa reported the detection of a new coronavirus variant on its soil. This mutation and the one found in the United Kingdom have since spread across the world.

    A closed NYC Vaccine Hub, as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, is seen at the Wadleigh Secondary School for the Performing & Visual Arts facility in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S., January 21, 2021.
    © REUTERS / SHANNON STAPLETON
    A closed NYC Vaccine Hub, as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, is seen at the Wadleigh Secondary School for the Performing & Visual Arts facility in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S., January 21, 2021.

    UK Strain of Novel Coronavirus Present in About 20 or More US States

    According to Fauci, “the mutants in the UK, which we know are in about 20 plus states.”

    In December, the United Kingdom informed the WHO of a mutated variant of the novel coronavirus, which is reported to be 70 percent more transmissible than other strains.

    Although the new strain has not been proven to be more pathogenic, some countries shut their borders and suspended travel with the United Kingdom. The closures, however, have so far not prevented the strain from spreading.

    According to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, the United States is leading the global coronavirus tally, with more than 24.6 million infections recorded and over 409,000 virus-related fatalities.

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