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COVID-19 infections waning but experts urge vigilance and vaccinations

More than 187 million people, or 56.4% of

More than 187 million people, or 56.4% of the population in the U.S., are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Credit: AFP via Getty Images/PATRICK T. FALLON

The average number of COVID-19 infections across the U.S. is continuing to decline but experts warned Americans to stay vigilant against the disease that has claimed over 711,000 lives nationwide.

"It's certainly going in the right direction," Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden told CNN’s "State of the Union" on Sunday.

"But we have to just be careful that we don't prematurely declare victory in many respects. We still have around 68 million people who are eligible to be vaccinated that have not yet gotten vaccinated," Fauci said.

More than 187 million people, or 56.4% of the population, in the U.S. are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and almost 217 million or 65.3% have received at least one dose, according to the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Fauci said the seven-day average of three important daily COVID-19 indicators is down: new cases are below 100,000, new hospitalizations are below 10,000 and new deaths are below 2,000.

After a summer lull, when the seven-day average of new cases was just over 14,000 on July 1, there was a spike fueled by the contagious delta variant and the seven-day average was at 151,379 by the middle of September.

In New York, 2,785 new COVID-19 cases were reported to the state on Saturday, including 161 in Nassau County and 295 in Suffolk County. There were 34 additional deaths attributed to COVID-19 including three in Nassau and one in Suffolk.

Gov., Kathy Hochul continued to urge New Yorkers to get inoculated against COVID-19.

"Getting vaccinated is the best thing you can do to keep yourself and your loved ones safe against COVID-19," Hochul said in a statement. "We recently hit an important milestone of 85% of adult New Yorkers with their first dose and we get closer to 90% every day.

On Tuesday, a pop-up vaccination clinic will operate at the Patchogue/Medford Library from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. as part of the state’s #VaxtoSchool program aimed at increasing the number of school-aged children who are inoculated against COVID-19.

Meanwhile, two important meetings scheduled for this week could help clear the way for more fully vaccinated people to get COVID-19 booster shots.

A panel of independent advisors to the U.S Food and Drug Administration will review data on vaccine booster shots from Johnson & Johnson and Moderna on Oct. 14 and Oct. 15.

Last month, the panel recommended boosters for fully vaccinated people who received Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine if they are at risk of developing severe COVID or are 65 years of age and older.

With Halloween just around the corner, Fauci was asked on CNN how people can safely celebrate the holiday during the pandemic.

"You are outdoors for the most part," he said. "Enjoy it. This is a time that children love."

Many Halloween activities were cancelled or scaled down last year because of COVID-19. This is the first Halloween during the pandemic that the vaccine is available.

Fauci said people who are not vaccinated should reflect on why it is important to be protected against COVID-19.

"It adds an extra degree of protection," he said. "Go out there and enjoy Halloween as well as the other holidays that will be coming up."

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