U.S. turning the corner on pandemic, says White House COVID coordinator

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The United States is turning the corner on the coronavirus pandemic and U.S. health officials are now focused on getting more Americans vaccinated, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said on Sunday. 

  “I would say we are turning the corner,” Zients said in an interview with CNN’s “State of the Union.” 

  The task now is to continue building confidence in vaccines and get enough Americans vaccinated to mitigate the spread of the virus and its variants, he said. 

  U.S. health officials are on a full court press to overcome vaccine hesitancy and make access to COVID-19 vaccines as easy as possible, aiming to meet President Joe Biden’s goal of 70% of Americans having at least one shot by the July 4 U.S. Independence Day. (Graphic on global vaccinations) 

  Dr. Anthony Fauci, a top White House coronavirus adviser, said another surge in coronavirus infections would be unlikely if the Biden goal is met or exceeded. 

  “The larger proportion of the population that’s vaccinated, the less likelihood that in a season like the coming fall or winter you’re going to see a significant surge,” Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said on NBC’ “Meet the Press.” 

  “That’s the reason why vaccinations are so important. That’s the wild card that we have now that we didn’t have last fall or the last winter.” 

  (Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Lisa Shumaker) 

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