In the past week (April 3 through 9), the U.S. reported about 449,000 new cases, according to the CDC. This amounts to:
- An average of 64,000 new cases each day
- 137 total new cases for every 100,000 Americans
- 1 in 731 Americans getting diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past week
- 2% more new cases than last week (March 27-April 2)
Last week, America also saw:
- 37,400 new COVID-19 patients admitted to hospitals (11.4 for every 100,000 people)
- 5,000 new COVID-19 deaths (1.5 for every 100,000 people)
- An average of 3.1 million vaccinations per day (per Bloomberg)
This is the fourth week in a row of case increases in the U.S. While this week’s jump is lower (we went from 57,000 new daily cases two weeks ago, to 63,000 last week, to 64,000 this week), the level where we’ve landed is still reason for concern. Our case numbers now are comparable to last July, when the summer surge was threatening hospital systems in the South and West.
Five states now account for almost half of our new cases, Dr. Katelyn Jetelina notes in her newsletter Your Local Epidemiologist. Those states are Michigan, New York, New Jersey, Florida, and Pennsylvania. “These states also happen to have some of the highest B.1.1.7 levels reported by the CDC,” Jetelina writes. “Is this a coincidence? Probably not.”
CDC data on coronavirus variants are reported with a significant time lag, as I discussed in detail last week. Still, the most recent update of the agency’s Variant Proportions page (now reflecting data as of March 13) tells us that B.1.1.7 accounts for at least 39% of cases in Michigan, 35% of cases in Tennessee, and 35% of cases in Florida. B.1.1.7 accounts for at least 20% of cases in five other states; it is now the most common variant in the country, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a press briefing last week.
Vaccinations are of course continuing—more than one in three Americans has now had a shot, and one in five is fully vaccinated—but we can’t get complacent. This week’s seven-day average is barely above last week’s (both about 3 million), and as more states open up their eligibility to all adults, we’re seeing access issues and vaccine hesitancy prevent all shots from getting used.
Also, as Dr. Eric Topol pointed out on Twitter, the federal government is refusing to send surplus vaccine supply to Michigan despite pleas from Michigan leaders and public health experts to support this hotspot state in its time of crisis.
Readers, if you have the opportunity to get vaccinated—or you can help a friend or family member get vaccinated—please do so.