White House Says No Covid Restrictions As European Countries Introduce Restrictions

Jeff Zientes, White House Covid-19 Coordinator, speaks at a press conference at the White House on April 13, 2021.

Lee Vogel | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The Biden administration has no plans to contain future outbreaks of the coronavirus with nationwide isolation, White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeff Zientes said in a briefing on Monday.

Zinz’s comments came as Austria is entering a fourth nationwide lockdown and the Netherlands is introducing a partial lockdown amid a sharp spike in the coronavirus in Europe in recent weeks. Zient said that instead of blocking the U.S., the federal government will rely on vaccines and therapeutic treatments to keep the country alive in the event of a new devastating coronavirus wave.

“We can curb the spread of the virus without stopping our economy in any way,” Zientes said. “Now 82% of people get one shot, and more and more people are being vaccinated every week.”

Zient called for the continued use of vaccines, boosters and monoclonal antibodies so that the US does not “roll back in any shape or form.” More than 60 million eligible Americans have yet to receive the Covid vaccine, and health officials are asking those eligible for the booster to register for additional doses as the holidays approach.

Covid cases in the United States have stabilized between 70,000 and 75,000 a day for nearly three weeks starting in late October, but since then they have reached a seven-day average of nearly 92,400 a day as of Sunday, up 16% from the week before. … , according to CNBC’s analysis of Johns Hopkins University data. But overseas in Europe recorded more than 2.1 million new cases in the week ending November 14, representing roughly 64% of all cases globally during that period, the World Health Organization said in its latest weekly epidemiological update.

Austria had a seven-day average of nearly 14,000 cases every day as of Sunday, up 28% from a week ago, according to data compiled by Hopkins. The Netherlands averaged about 21,000 infections per day in the week ending Sunday, up 56% from the week before.

The isolation of Austria began on Monday and will last no more than 20 days, and the national vaccination mandate will take effect on February 1, Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said on Friday. The Netherlands also began a partial lockdown on Saturday, forcing some businesses to close ahead of schedule and preventing the public from attending sporting events for three weeks, Reuters reported.

Protests have erupted in both Austria and the Netherlands in response to a return to quarantine and stricter Covid mitigation measures. Similar demonstrations have taken place in Belgium, Croatia and Italy in recent days.

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

CNBC Chloe taylor, Holly Ellatt and Nate Rattner contributed to this report.

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