NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)COVID-19 cases are surging across the U.S. even as vaccination efforts pick up.

The nation’s top doctors pleaded with states Monday to pause reopening plans as a fourth surge of the coronavirus threatens the country, CBS2’s Christina Fan reported.

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CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky grew emotional as she implored Americans to not let their guards down.

“I’m going to lose the script, and I’m going to reflect on the recurring feeling I have of impending doom,” Walensky said. “We have so much to look forward to, so much promise and potential of where we are, and so much reason for hope. But right now I’m scared.”

COVID VACCINE

The U.S. is averaging about 60,000 cases per day – a 10% increase compared to the previous week.

The surge comes as the country is administering COVID vaccines at a faster pace than ever, but also reopening on a larger scale.

President Joe Biden, when asked, said he does believe some states should pause their reopening efforts. The Biden administration did not clarify which states.

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New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy defended his decision to loosen restrictions on outdoor gatherings and capacity limits for concert and entertainment venues.

“We know this virus is many times more transmissible indoors – and you’ve heard that from us, I think, hundreds of times – than it is outdoors. So any type of larger gathering is safer for everyone if it can be held outside,” Murphy said.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio cautioned families to stay vigilant as people come together for Christian Holy Week.

“Still keep gatherings small, observe social distancing, wear a mask,” said de Blasio.

Public health officials said other causes for the surge include increased travel and new variants that have been detected in the U.S.

Dr. Walensky said she will speak with governors on Tuesday to try to convince them to buckle down and refrain from reopening too quickly.

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CBS2’s Christina Fan contributed to this report.

CBSNewYork Team