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CDC director Rochelle Walensky warned states on Monday that "now is not the time" to lift public health restrictions, as the recent dramatic declines in coronavirus cases and deaths "appear to be stalling."

Why it matters: While the average of 70,000 new infections and 2,000 daily deaths is nowhere near the extremely high levels recorded at the start of 2021, the figures are still a poor baseline to "stop a potential fourth surge" — especially with the threat posed by more contagious new variants, Walensky warned.

By the numbers: The most recent seven-day average of cases and deaths increased by about 2%, after plummeting across the country for several weeks in a row.

What she's saying: "With these new statistics, I'm really worried about reports that more states are rolling back the exact public health measures we have recommended to protect people from COVID-19," Walenky said at a press briefing.

  • "I understand the temptation to do this. ... But we cannot be resigned to 70,000 cases a day, 2,000 daily deaths," she continued.
  • "At this level of cases with variants spreading, we stand to completely lose the hard-earned ground we have gained. These variants are a very real threat to our people and our progress."

What's next: Health officials say moving quickly with vaccinations will help, but that Americans waiting for shots must continue to be rigorous with their own mitigation measures.

Go deeper: U.S. sets weekend records for daily COVID vaccinations

Go deeper

Updated 42 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Cuomo's former chief counsel joins calls for him to resign after damning report

Photo: Spencer Platt/AFP via Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's (D) former chief counsel joined top Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday in calling for him to resign after an independent investigation concluded the governor sexually harassed multiple women in violation of federal and state law.

The latest: Alphonso David, who is now president of the LGBTQ advocacy group Human Rights Campaign, called the report authored by investigators "devastating" and echoed others' comments in decrying Cuomo's "pattern of sexual harassment."

Cuomo accuser speaks out, calls denials "dangerous," "victim blaming"

Andrew Cuomo. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

A former aide to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who accused him of sexual harassment, spoke out against his earlier denial of inappropriate behavior, telling CBS News that the lawmaker's comments were "dangerous" and "victim blaming."

Driving the news: At a press conference earlier Tuesday, Cuomo specifically addressed the allegations made by his ex-aide, Charlotte Bennett, admitting he "did ask her questions I don't normally ask people," but he flatly denied other details of her allegations.

CDC extends ban on evictions until October after protests

Demonstrators gather during a protest against the expiration of the eviction moratorium outside of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Sunday, Aug. 1. Photo: Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an order on Tuesday barring evictions for most of the U.S. through Oct. 3.

The big picture: The moratorium will temporarily halt evictions in counties with "substantial and high levels" of coronavirus cases, which should cover areas where 90% of the U.S. population lives, per AP.