In the past week (February 1 through 6), the U.S. reported about 840,000 new cases, according to the COVID Tracking Project. This amounts to:
- An average of 120,000 new cases each day
- 257 total new cases for every 100,000 Americans
- 1 in 389 Americans getting diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past week
- 50% fewer new cases than we reported in the first full week of January
Last week, America also saw:
- 84,200 people now hospitalized with COVID-19 (26 for every 100,000 people)
- 22,500 new COVID-19 deaths (6.9 for every 100,000 people)
- An average of 1.4 million vaccinations per day (per Bloomberg)
This is the first week in which America has reported fewer than 1 million new COVID-19 cases since Thanksgiving. Also, per the COVID Tracking Project, the number of Americans in the hospital with COVID-19 has decreased for 25 days in a row. Bloomberg reported a record 2.1 million vaccine doses yesterday. Whichever metric you look at, the news is good.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky emphasized the declining rates in White House COVID-19 briefings this week. On Friday, for example, she noted that the number of new COVID-19 patients on February 2 was about 10,500—compared to the peak of 18,000 reported on January 5. Still, 10,000 new admissions was bad news when I reported this number at the end of November.
But, as I keep stressing in these updates, we can’t get too excited about the good news. As of February 4, the U.S. is up to 611 cases of the B.1.1.7 (or UK) variant, 5 cases of the B.1.351 (or South Africa) variant, and 2 cases of the P.1 (or Brazil) variant—and these numbers are likely significant undercounts. For more information on these variants and how they impact vaccination, read Sarah Braner’s post later in the issue.