White House says U.S. will not lock down to fight Covid as European nations implement restrictions

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  • “We can stop the spread of the virus without shutting down our economy in any way,” said Jeff Gents, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator.
  • “We now have 82% of people with one shot and every week more and more people are getting vaccinated,” Ziants said.
  • Austria’s lockdown began on Monday and will last for a maximum of 20 days, with a nationwide vaccine mandate effective February 1. The Netherlands also began a partial lockdown on Saturday.

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Jeff Gents, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, said at a briefing on Monday that the Biden administration has no plans to use the nationwide lockdown to curb future COVID-19 growth.

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Ziants’ comments come as Austria enters its fourth nationwide lockdown and the Netherlands partially imposed a lockdown in recent weeks amid a surge of COVID-19 across Europe. Instead of shutting down the US, Ziants said the federal government would rely on vaccines and medical treatments to keep the country running in the face of another devastating Covid wave.

“We can stop the spread of the virus without shutting down our economy in any way,” Ziants said. “We now have 82% of people who have had one shot and every week more and more people are getting vaccinated.”

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Zients called for the continued use of vaccines, booster shots and monoclonal antibodies to prevent America from “going backwards in any way, shape or form.” More than 60 million eligible Americans still haven’t vaccinated against COVID, and health officials are asking those who qualify for boosters to register for their extra doses with the holidays .

Covid cases in the US were between 70,000 and 75,000 per day for about three weeks starting in late October, but they averaged around 92,400 per day as of Sunday, a 16% increase from the week. According to a CNBC analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University. But overseas, Europe rose by more than 2.1 million new cases during the week ending November 14, accounting for about 64% of all cases globally during that period, the World Health Organization reported in its most recent weekly epidemiological update. .

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Austria recorded a seven-day average of nearly 14,000 daily cases as of Sunday, up 28% from a week earlier, according to data compiled by Hopkins. And the Netherlands is seeing an average of about 21,000 infections per day for the week ending Sunday, a 56% increase from the previous week.

Austria’s lockdown began on Monday and will last for a maximum of 20 days, with a nationwide vaccine mandate effective February 1, Chancellor Alexander Schalenberg said on Friday. Reuters reported that the Netherlands also began a partial lockdown on Saturday, forcing select businesses to close early and barring the public from attending sporting events.

Both Austria and the Netherlands have seen protests in response to the return of the lockdown and more stringent COVID mitigation measures. Similar demonstrations took place in Belgium, Croatia and Italy in recent days.

Outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel has also called for tougher measures in Europe’s largest economy as there are Covid spikes.

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