National numbers, Jan. 31

In the past week (January 24 through 31), the U.S. reported about 1.0 million new cases, according to the COVID Tracking Project. This amounts to:

  • An average of 148,000 new cases each day
  • 317 total new cases for every 100,000 Americans
  • 1 in 316 Americans getting diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past week
  • 38% fewer new cases than we reported three weeks ago
Nationwide COVID-19 metrics published in the COVID Tracking Project’s daily update on January 30. Current hospitalizations are under 100,000 for the first time in almost two months.

Last week, America also saw:

  • 97,600 people now hospitalized with COVID-19 (30 for every 100,000 people)
  • 21,800 new COVID-19 deaths (6.7 for every 100,000 people)
  • An average of 1.35 million vaccinations per day (according to Bloomberg)

The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 is under 100,000 for the first time since December 1. Still, this current number is about 60% higher than the peak number of patients hospitalized during either of the U.S.’s previous surges last spring and summer (60,000).

In late 2020, COVID-19 became the leading cause of death in the U.S. It was the third-highest cause of death in that year overall. Already, in 2021, over 3,000 Americans have died of COVID-19 each day—making this disease a far higher burden than heart disease and cancer, typically the top two drivers of mortality.

While new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to slow, continuing the trend from last week, new SARS-CoV-2 variants continue to give experts cause for concern. South Carolina’s public health department identified two cases of the B 1.351 variant first reported in South Africa; this variant is known to be more contagious and less susceptible to vaccines. Meanwhile, the B.1.1.7 variant (first reported in the U.K.) continues to spread—CDC officials are concerned that it could be the dominant strain here by the spring.

And New York—which has already reported 42 B.1.1.7 cases—is planning to open indoor dining in February. I’m no public health expert, but I plan to be ordering takeout for a long time yet.

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