National numbers, October 31

Nationwide COVID-19 hospitalizations have fallen below 50,000 for the first time since July. Chart via Conor Kelly, posted on Twitter on October 30.

In the past week (October 23 through 29), the U.S. reported about 480,000 new cases, according to the CDC.* This amounts to:

  • An average of 69,000 new cases each day
  • 147 total new cases for every 100,000 Americans
  • 7% fewer new cases than last week (October 16-22)

Last week, America also saw:

  • 38,000 new COVID-19 patients admitted to hospitals (12 for every 100,000 people)
  • 8,000 new COVID-19 deaths (2.4 for every 100,000 people)
  • 100% of new cases are Delta-caused (as of October 23)
  • An average of 900,000 vaccinations per day (including booster shots; per Bloomberg)

*Note: we are back to our usual schedule (utilizing data as of Friday) after last week’s hiccup.

Nationally, new COVID-19 cases continue to drop—though the decrease is slowing a bit from previous weeks. The number of new cases fell by about 7% this week, after falling by about 12% for the two weeks prior.

Still, a downward trend is a positive trend. The U.S. now has fewer than 50,000 COVID-19 patients in hospitals nationwide, for the first time since July—before the Delta surge started. The number of new deaths is also slowly falling, though the country is still seeing over 1,000 people die from COVID-19 each day.

The country’s current hotspots continue to be the same group of colder-weather states I called out last week: Alaska, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, and Idaho. All five have recorded over 400 new cases for every 100,000 people in the last week, per the latest Community Profile Report, with Alaska at the top (657 cases per 100,000).

It’s hard to say whether these high numbers are a product of cold weather driving people inside, low vaccination rates—all five states have about half or less of their populations fully vaccinated—or both. Continuing trends in these states may provide an indicator of how other parts of the country may fare this winter.

Meanwhile, more states are seeing their COVID-19 numbers drop below “high transmission” levels, including Louisiana, D.C., Georgia, Maryland, Texas, and New Jersey. In New Orleans, a Delta epicenter in the summer, case numbers are low enough that the mayor has loosened the city’s mask mandate and other COVID-19 restrictions.

Vaccinations are up nationally, but booster shots—not previously unvaccinated Americans getting their first doses—are comprising the bulk of the trend. Yesterday, out of 1.6 million doses reported by the CDC, a record one million were booster shots. Just 361,000 were new first doses.

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