Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said COVID-19 lockdowns could come back in regions with low vaccination levels during an interview on Friday.
“Do you think we could see lockdowns again?”CNBC’s Sara Eisen asked Yellen. “Do you think our economy can handle going through something like that again?”
“So I mean, we have solid rates of vaccination in many parts of the country,” Yellen replied. “But certainly, it’s something that could happen in areas where vaccination rates are low.”
“So it really is critically important that we maintain progress on vaccinating more Americans,” she continued.
Officials continue to warn about the Delta variant of the coronavirus, which is now the dominant variant of the virus in the U.S. and accounts for over half of new infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The new variant is said to be 60% more transmissible than the U.K. variant of the virus.
The CDC confirmed that those who are vaccinated are sufficiently protected from the Delta variant and other variants of the virus.
“Vaccination has still been a resounding success because we have seen dramatic drops of this virus, delta variant or not, across the United States … and there’s no reason for us to believe that that’s going to change,” Dr. Frank Esper, pediatric infectious disease physician at the Cleveland Clinic, said.
“I think we will have several more months of rapid inflation,” Yellen said. “So I’m not saying this is a one-month phenomenon, but I think over the medium term, we’ll see inflation decline back toward normal levels. But, of course, we have to keep a careful eye on it.”
Her prediction came after the Department of Labor announced that consumer prices jumped 5.4% for the year ending in June. The increase is the highest rate of inflation seen since 2008.