March 12 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Melissa Macaya and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 4:52 p.m. ET, March 15, 2021
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2:17 a.m. ET, March 12, 2021

Cases are "absolutely not" low enough to relax restrictions, Fauci says

From CNN Health's Ryan Prior


Daily case numbers in the United States are "absolutely not" low enough to relax public health measures, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

The US is still recording an average of 60,000 new infections per day -- which is "unacceptably high," Fauci told CBS Evening News. "That is risky for triggering another surge."

Fauci said cases need to fall below 10,000 per day in order to comfortably lift restrictions, such as wearing face masks.

The good news is that vaccinations are increasing nationally, particularly among the elderly, he said. For instance, it's now safe for grandchildren to hug their grandparents if the grandparents are vaccinated and if the grandchildren are healthy.

Looking back a year after Covid-19 began to sweep the US, Fauci explained that measures to curb virus spread might have been stronger earlier if public health officials had known how highly transmissible the novel coronavirus was.

"If we had known that fully early on, there likely would have been differences in how we approached it," he said.