In the past week (March 27 through April 2), the U.S. reported about 435,000 new cases, according to the CDC. This amounts to:
- An average of 62,000 new cases each day
- 133 total new cases for every 100,000 Americans
- 1 in 754 Americans getting diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past week
- 9% more new cases than last week (March 20-26)
Last week, America also saw:
- 34,600 new COVID-19 patients admitted to hospitals (10.6 for every 100,000 people)
- 6,200 new COVID-19 deaths (1.9 for every 100,000 people)
- An average of 3 million vaccinations per day (per Bloomberg)
“I’m gonna pause here, I’m gonna lose the script, and I’m gonna reflect on the recurring feeling I have of impending doom.”
You’ve probably seen headlines with this quotation, something CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said at the White House COVID-19 briefing on Monday before launching into an impassioned plea to “just hold on a little while longer.” Still, I recommend watching the full video, if you haven’t yet. I watched it live, and was struck by Dr. Walensky’s drive to avoid any more people sent to the hospital with COVID-19, any more unnecessary deaths.
The pandemic’s current state puts public health leaders like Dr. Walensky in a challenging position. New cases continue to rise, with states like Michigan, New York, New Jersey, and other parts of the northeast seeing more concerning spikes. While a 60,000-cases-per-day average may seem small compared to the numbers we saw this winter, it’s comparable to the summer surge that devastated much of the country. And our still-improving genomic surveillance system is finding more and more cases caused by variants.
Yet at the same time, millions of people are getting vaccinated—a new record was set just yesterday, with 4 million doses reported in one day. The weekly average is now at 3 million new doses each day. Not four days after that briefing when Dr. Walensky warned of impending doom, the CDC put out a travel guidance that many took as a license to book post-vaccination plane tickets. (It’s not, though by the way some have described it, you could be forgiven for thinking that way.)
Those who’ve been vaccinated may find it hard to believe another surge is coming. But we can’t let down our guard yet! About three in ten Americans have received at least one vaccine dose—that’s far from herd immunity.