National numbers, May 23

In the past week (May 15 through 21), the U.S. reported about 195,000 new cases, according to the CDC. This amounts to:

  • An average of 28,000 new cases each day
  • 59 total new cases for every 100,000 Americans
  • 19% fewer new cases than last week (May 8-14)
Nationwide COVID-19 metrics as of May 21, sourcing data from the CDC and HHS. Posted on Twitter by Conor Kelly.

Last week, America also saw:

  • 24,000 new COVID-19 patients admitted to hospitals (7.3 for every 100,000 people)
  • 3,500 new COVID-19 deaths (1.1 for every 100,000 people)
  • 66% of new cases in the country now B.1.1.7-caused (as of April 24)
  • An average of 1.9 million vaccinations per day (per Bloomberg)

I’m starting to feel like a broken record in these updates—but in a good way. U.S. cases continue falling, with our seven-day average now at a level not seen since May 2020.

Trends in COVID-19 deaths usually echo trends in cases with about a month’s delay. After several weeks of falling cases, the U.S. is now seeing fewer than 500 new COVID-19 deaths a day. This week, 24 states averaged fewer than one new death a day for every 100,000 residents.

These states include California, Arizona, the Dakotas, and other states that made headlines in past months for their concerning outbreaks—yet another indication that the vaccines are working. Only three states (Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Alaska) saw over two deaths a day for every 100,000 people.

Vaccinations continue at the slow, steady, 1.5-to-2 million a day pace we’ve seen for the past couple of weeks. About 61% of adults have had at least one dose, and almost half of adults are now fully vaccinated. Meanwhile, many kids in the 12 to 15 age range are taking advantage of their new eligibility: about 1.6 million have received at least one dose so far. 16% of the first doses administered in the last two weeks went to this population.

Variant numbers haven’t been updated since last week. B.1.1.7 continues to be the dominant variant in the U.S., and other concerning variants (such as B.1.617 from India) continue to spread. But accumulating evidence suggests that the vaccines work well against all variants. Just yesterday, researchers in the U.K. reported 81% effectiveness against B.1.617, according to the Financial Times.

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