National numbers, October 3

Delta dominates throughout the U.S. The CDC’s variant map has looked like this for a few weeks now.

In the past week (September 25 through October 1), the U.S. reported about 750,000 new cases, according to the CDC. This amounts to:

  • An average of 106,000 new cases each day
  • 227 total new cases for every 100,000 Americans
  • 13% fewer new cases than last week (September 18-24)

Last week, America also saw:

  • 58,000 new COVID-19 patients admitted to hospitals (18 for every 100,000 people)
  • 10,000 new COVID-19 deaths (3.2 for every 100,000 people)
  • 99% of new cases are Delta-caused (as of September 25)
  • An average of 800,000 vaccinations per day (including booster shots; per Bloomberg)

COVID-19 cases continue to go down in the U.S.; by next week, the country will likely be back under 100,000 new cases a day. Hospitalizations are also dropping: this week, the number of COVID-19 patients currently hospitalized across the U.S. dropped about 12%, to 72,000.

But over 10,000 COVID-19 deaths were reported this week, for the third week in a row. Many of these deaths likely occurred earlier in the Delta surge, but showed up in the numbers more recently due to reporting lags.

The U.S. passed 700,000 COVID-19 deaths this week, many of them unvaccinated. To quote Ed Yong’s latest feature: “Every adult in the U.S. has been eligible for vaccines since mid-April; in that time, more Americans have died of COVID-19 per capita than people in Germany, Canada, Rwanda, Vietnam, or more than 130 other countries did in the pre-vaccine era.”

Alaska is now the number one COVID-19 hotspot in the country. According to Friday’s Community Profile Report, the state saw almost 1,200 new COVID-19 cases for every 100,000 residents in the week ending September 29. That’s twelve times higher than the CDC’s threshold for “high transmission,” 100 new cases for every 100,000 people in a week.

Hospitals in Alaska are completely overwhelmed. The state currently has about 40% more COVID-19 patients in hospitals than it did at the peak of the winter surge. In a recent video posted to Facebook and shared with local leaders, a nurse at Fairbanks Medical Hospital describes the dire process of dying from COVID-19—something that has become incredibly common in her workplace. About 50% of Alaska’s population is fully vaccinated.

On the other side of the spectrum, Connecticut has joined California in the “substantial transmission” range. Connecticut saw 98 new cases for every 100,000 people in the past week, while California saw 73 new cases for every 100,000.

Over 99% of new cases in the U.S. are caused by Delta, as has been the case for over a month. Delta has solidly outcompeted the Mu variant, and remains dominant across the country. Will this variant peter out as the surge slowly wanes, or will Delta evolve into another more-dangerous variant? The CDC’s current data makes it hard to look for signals.

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