The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Health experts worry about variant-driven surge as states lift restrictions

Commuters wear protective masks while riding a bus in New York. (Gabriela Bhaskar/Bloomberg News)
Please Note

The Washington Post is providing this important information about the coronavirus for free. For more free coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, sign up for our Coronavirus Updates newsletter where all stories are free to read.

As authorities relax restrictions meant to curb the coronavirus and the race to vaccinate the public remains underway, experts say the United States sits at a potential inflection point, with highly contagious variants threatening an additional surge.

Michael T. Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota and an adviser to President Biden’s coronavirus task force, said during a Sunday interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the nation is “in the eye of the hurricane.” Other epidemiologists cited concern over the looming spring break season, saying it could accelerate the spread of the new variants.

Here are some significant developments:

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released guidance on what fully vaccinated Americans can do, saying they can visit nearby grandchildren and dine with one another indoors.
  • House lawmakers could vote as soon as Tuesday on the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, putting President Biden on track to sign it into law by the end of the week.
  • A little-known provision of Biden’s stimulus package will pay billions of dollars to disadvantaged farmers — a quarter of whom are Black — and experts say it is the most significant piece of legislation for Black farmers since the Civil Rights Act.
  • The stimulus bill also gives airlines, airports and public transit agencies billions of dollars in support to help avoid furloughs and make up for the sharp decreases in riders and fliers during the pandemic.
  • Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad and his wife, Asma, have tested positive for the coronavirus, his office announced Monday. Both are in stable condition, the statement said.
  • More than a half-million Americans have died of the coronavirus while nearly 29 million cases have been reported.
Press Enter to skip to end of carousel

Here's what to know:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released guidance on what fully vaccinated Americans can do, saying they can visit nearby grandchildren and dine with one another indoors.
House lawmakers could vote as soon as Tuesday on the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, putting President Biden on track to sign it into law by the end of the week.
A little-known provision of Biden’s stimulus package will pay billions of dollars to disadvantaged farmers — a quarter of whom are Black — and experts say it is the most significant piece of legislation for Black farmers since the Civil Rights Act.
The stimulus bill also gives airlines, airports and public transit agencies billions of dollars in support to help avoid furloughs and make up for the sharp decreases in riders and fliers during the pandemic.
Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad and his wife, Asma, have tested positive for the coronavirus, his office announced Monday. Both are in stable condition, the statement said.
More than a half-million Americans have died of the coronavirus while nearly 29 million cases have been reported.

1/6

End of carousel

Sign up for our coronavirus newsletter | Mapping the spread of the coronavirus: Across the U.S. | Worldwide | Vaccine tracker | Has someone close to you died of covid-19? Share your story with The Washington Post.

Loading...