CDC Director Rochelle Walensky fears potential 'impending doom' as COVID-19 cases rise again

Walensky urges Americans to get vaccinated and to follow guidelines on slowing the spread of the virus.

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Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, testifies during a Senate hearing.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, testifies during a Senate hearing on the federal coronavirus response on March 18, 2021.

Susan Walsh-Pool/Getty Images

As cases of COVID-19 begin to creep up again the US, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention delivered a blunt warning on Monday. 

"I'm going to lose the script, and I'm going to reflect on the recurring feeling I have of impending doom," said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky during a press briefing from the White House COVID-19 response team. "We have so much to look forward to, so much promise and potential of where we are, and so much reason for hope. But right now I'm scared."

Walensky on Monday called out some "concerning trends," noting that the US has now passed 30 million cases of COVID-19 and that the current seven-day average of new cases  -- from March 21 to 27 -- was up 10% compared with the previous period. She said hospitalizations and deaths have also started to rise over the past week.

The CDC reports that the US has administered more than 140 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, offering a sense of hope that things could soon return to normal. While Walensky praised the three vaccines available in the US, she also urged Americans to "just hold on a little longer" and recommit to prevention measures, such as mask wearing and social distancing. 

President Joe Biden reiterated that message later in the day on Monday, urging states to maintain or reinstate mask mandates

"This is deadly serious," Biden said. "If we let our guard down now we could see a virus getting worse, not better." 

Here's where to get a COVID-19 shot, and here's how to track how many vaccines are available in your state.