National numbers, May 9

In the past week (May 1 through 6), the U.S. reported about 321,000 new cases, according to the CDC. This amounts to:

  • An average of 46,000 new cases each day
  • 98 total new cases for every 100,000 Americans
  • 13% fewer new cases than last week (April 24-30)
Nationwide COVID-19 metrics as of May 7, sourcing data from the CDC and HHS. Posted on Twitter by Conor Kelly.

Last week, America also saw:

  • 32,500 new COVID-19 patients admitted to hospitals (10 for every 100,000 people)
  • 4,600 new COVID-19 deaths (1.4 for every 100,000 people)
  • 59.6% of new cases in the country now B.1.1.7-caused (as of April 10)
  • An average of 2.0 million vaccinations per day (per Bloomberg)

The rate of new cases continues to drop: this is the first time we’ve seen an average under 50,000 daily cases since early October, 2020. Nationally, fewer than one in one thousand Americans was diagnosed with COVID-19 last week. Still, even after a couple of weeks of declines, case rates in Michigan and other Northeastern and Midwestern states remain at a concerning level: over 100 new cases per 100,000 people. 

Hospitalization and death numbers have remained fairly constant for the last month. Between 4,000 and 5,000 new COVID-19 patients are admitted to the hospital each day; as I discussed in this recent story for Science News, younger patients (under age 50) are making up a larger share of those hospitalized than this age group did in earlier periods of the pandemic.

The demographic change is, of course, thanks to vaccination. While about 43% of American adults are now fully vaccinated, an impressive 71% of seniors (over age 65) are fully vaccinated—and 84% of seniors have received at least one dose, as of May 8. Still, we have many shots in arms to go before reaching President Biden’s new goal: one dose for at least 70% of Americans by July 4.

A recent update to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor shows how vaccine supply/demand tension is playing out across the country. Some states in the South and West with lower vaccinated shares of their populations are also administering new first doses at lower rates. In Mississippi, for example, only 41% of the population has received a first dose and the state is administering new first doses at a daily rate of 136 per 100,000. Overall, the U.S. is administering 2 million doses per day, way down from last month’s 3+ million peak.

This past Wednesday, the Biden administration announced its support of waiving intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines. The announcement garnered a lot of enthusiasm in the public health community, especially as cases continue to surge in India, other parts of Asia, and South America. But a lot of negotiations remain until vaccine technology can actually be shared with the world; if you’re looking for a detailed rundown, I recommend this issue of Geneva Health Files, a newsletter run by my former CUNY classmate Priti Patnaik.

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