National Numbers, March 21

In the past week (March 13 through 19), the U.S. reported about 372,000 new cases, according to the CDC. This amounts to:

  • An average of 53,000 new cases each day
  • 113 total new cases for every 100,000 Americans
  • 1 in 881 Americans getting diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past week
  • Only 10,000 fewer new cases than last week (March 6-12)
Nationwide COVID-19 metrics as of March 19, sourcing data from the CDC and HHS. Posted on Twitter by Conor Kelly.

Last week, America also saw:

  • 32,900 new COVID-19 patients admitted to hospitals (10 for every 100,000 people)
  • 7,200 new COVID-19 deaths (2.2 for every 100,000 people)
  • An average of 2.3 million vaccinations per day (per Bloomberg)

Three months into his presidency, Joe Biden has already met one of his biggest goals: 100 million vaccinations in 100 days. This includes 79 million people who have received at least one dose, and 43 million who are now fully vaccinated. Two-thirds of Americans age 65 and older have received at least their first dose.

Our current phase of the pandemic may be described as a race between vaccinations and the spread of variants. Right now, it’s not clear who’s winning. Despite our current vaccination pace, the U.S. reported only 10,000 fewer new cases this week than in the week prior—and rates in some states are rising.

Michigan is one particular area of concern: COVID Tracking Project data watchers devoted an analysis post to the state this week, writing, “the Detroit area now ranks fourth for percent change in COVID-19 hospital admissions from previous week—and first in increasing cases and test positivity.” Hospitalization rates in New York and New Jersey are also in a plateau.

These concerning patterns may be tied to coronavirus variants. Michigan has the second-highest reported count of B.1.1.7 cases, after Florida, and New York City is currently facing its own variant. The CDC’s national B.1.1.7 count passed 5,000 this week—more than double the count from late February.

As genomic surveillance in the U.S. improves, the picture we can paint of our variant prevalence becomes increasingly concerning. But that picture is still fuzzy—more on that later in this issue. 

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