National numbers, May 2

In the past week (April 24 through 30), the U.S. reported about 368,000 new cases, according to the CDC. This amounts to:

  • An average of 53,000 new cases each day
  • 112 total new cases for every 100,000 Americans
  • 1 in 893 Americans getting diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past week
  • 16% fewer new cases than last week (April 17-23)
Nationwide COVID-19 metrics as of April 30, sourcing data from the CDC and HHS. Posted on Twitter by Conor Kelly.

Last week, America also saw:

  • 35,400 new COVID-19 patients admitted to hospitals (11 for every 100,000 people)
  • 4,400 new COVID-19 deaths (1.3 for every 100,000 people)
  • 59.2% of new cases in the country now B.1.1.7-caused (as of April 10)
  • An average of 2.55 million vaccinations per day (per Bloomberg)

New cases are down for the second week in a row—good news after the 70,000-plus peak of mid-April. Still, 50,000-plus cases in a day is no good place to plateau, new hospital admissions remain over 5,000 a day, and vaccinations are slowing: the U.S. is now averaging about 2.6 million shots a day, down from 3.4 million a couple of weeks ago.

As we discussed last week, the U.S. vaccination campaign has entered a phase in which supply is higher than demand. Even with Johnson & Johnson now back on the market, many of the people who were desperate to get their shots have already secured those doses, leaving public health experts and local leaders to figure out how to both lower access barriers and alleviate concerns in less vaccine-confident communities.

The extra supply has enabled U.S. officials to say they can spare some doses that won’t be used here: 60 million AstraZeneca doses will go to India and other countries, after they undergo FDA review. Still, some experts are arguing that the U.S. could do far more by waiving patents for the COVID-19 vaccines—a move that Brazil’s senate just voted to make for its own country’s products on Friday. 

There is one good piece of vaccine news this week, though: several states are closing their vaccine equity gaps, according to Bloomberg’s tracker. White vaccination rates are slowing more drastically than rates in minority populations, allowing those communities to catch up. “Since early February, Alabama, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi and North Carolina have narrowed their Black vaccination gaps most,” Bloomberg’s team reports.

Meanwhile, the coronavirus variants just keep spreading. The CDC updated its variant proportions data this week, reporting that B.1.1.7 is now causing a clear majority of COVID-19 cases in the country (59%). Michigan, Minnesota, and Tennessee have B.1.1.7 proportions closer to 70%. B.1.1.7 also appears to be outcompeting the California variants (B.1.427/B.1.429) in parts of the West where those variants had previously dominated. Still, as we keep emphasizing, these data are several weeks old; this week’s CDC update includes figures as of April 10, and the true B.1.1.7 numbers are likely higher.

Stay safe out there, readers, and help your communities get vaccinated.

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