Francis Collins, the director of the US National Institutes of Health, tells CBS News' 60 Minutes that now is to "not the moment to relax" in the pandemic.
As 60 Minutes reports, there are feelings of hope that the COVID-19 pandemic might soon be over as more people are being vaccinated. But at the same time, it notes there are at least three viral variants of concern worrying scientists. The B.1.1.7 variant, first identified in the UK, for instance, is estimated to be about 50 percent more transmissible and possibly more deadly. It, 60 Minutes notes, has spread across the US.
There are also worries that vaccines may be less effective against some of these variants, though researchers suspect they likely still provide some protection against COVID-19. But this just underscore the need for people to continue to thwart the spread of the virus and the development of variants, 60 Minutes adds.
"If you're the guy running for the finish line, don't trip right there on the 10-yard line," Collins says. "Try to get all the way to the goal. We can see it. We're gonna get there."