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U.S. health officials caution governors against easing restrictions, warning that a recent plunge in virus cases ‘may be stalling.’



Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, echoed Dr. Walensky’s warnings that more rollbacks at state or local levels would be unwise, noting that case levels remained at a “very precarious position.”

“We don’t want to be people always looking at the dark side of things, but you want to be realistic,” he said. “So we have to carefully look at what happens over the next week or so with those numbers before you start making the understandable need to relax on certain restrictions.”

The doctors’ comments came as the Biden administration announced an aggressive push to enlist the help of some of the country’s biggest corporations and business lobbying groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable and organizations representing Asian, Black and Latino executives.

The aim is two-fold: to expand the private sector’s contributions beyond the manufacture of vaccines, tests and treatment, and to encourage businesses to give employees time off and the necessary support to get vaccinated, said Andy Slavitt, a senior Biden health adviser.

Mr. Slavitt ticked off a list of companies and groups that have responded to what he described as the administration’s “call to action”: Ford and The Gap intend to donate more than 100 million masks for free distribution. Uber and Lyft are teaming up with pharmacies to offer free or discounted rides to vaccination sties. Best Buy, Dollar General and Target will give workers paid time off to get a shot. He said the initiatives would be coordinated by the companies themselves and the administration did not have a formal role.

Pro sports leagues, Mr. Slavitt said, are helping set aside more than 100 stadiums and arenas to become mass vaccination sites. A few weeks ago, Mr. Biden announced in a C.B.S. interview that the N.F.L. commissioner had offered him the use of stadiums.

“We’ll ask companies to make similar unique commitments that bring their unique skills and resources to the problem of key keeping Americans safe and ending the pandemic as quickly as possible,” Mr. Slavitt said.

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