(CNN) – As the number of new daily COVID cases across the United States is trending down, officials are urging Americans to keep their guards up.
“This is a national emergency and the approach we are taking reflects this,” said Andy Slavitt with the White House COVID-19 response team.
The latest U.S. data shows mutations of the virus are spreading with nearly 700 variant cases in at least 33 states.
“The continued proliferation of variants remains of great concern and is a threat that could reverse the recent trend, positive trends, we are seeing,” according to Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Most of the variant cases are the mutation first identified in the United Kingdom.
But officials are certain there are other varieties out there that have yet to be identified.
“Over the last three weeks or so, we’ve increased our sequencing about tenfold, so as we look more, we certainly anticipate we might find more,” Walensky said.
Health experts say the two vaccines currently authorized in the United States are effective against the UK variant.
They also say the best defense against further virus mutations is to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible.
Other public health measures remain effective, too, including wearing a mask, staying six feet away from others and washing your hands.
“I recognize that the pandemic has taken an enormous toll on all of us, but if we all work together and take these prevention steps, we can finally turn the tide,” Walensky said.