National numbers, November 21

New York City is now seeing about 14 new cases for every 100,000 people each day. Chart via THE CITY’s COVID-19 dashboard.

In the past week (November 13 through 19), the U.S. reported about 620,000 new cases, according to the CDC. This amounts to:

  • An average of 88,000 new cases each day
  • 189 total new cases for every 100,000 Americans
  • 16% more new cases than last week (November 6-12)

Last week, America also saw:

  • 38,000 new COVID-19 patients admitted to hospitals (12 for every 100,000 people)
  • 7,200 new COVID-19 deaths (2.2 for every 100,000 people)
  • 100% of new cases are Delta-caused (as of November 13)
  • An average of 1.3 million vaccinations per day (including booster shots; per Bloomberg)

Last week, I wrote that the U.S. was at the start of a winter surge; this week, the surge is beginning to take off. Nationwide, cases are up 16% from last week to this week, and up 24% from two weeks ago. It’s not as sharp of an increase as what we saw during the first Delta surge in the summer, but it’s still concerning. New hospitalizations are also rising, up about 5% from last week.

Michigan and Minnesota are now the country’s top hotspots, with 589 and 524 new cases for every 100,000 people in the past week, respectively, per the latest Community Profile Report. Other hotspots include more northern states: New Hampshire, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Vermont. After being a success story for most of the pandemic, Vermont is now seeing its highest case numbers yet.

Meanwhile, in Europe, the ongoing surge has prompted increasingly strict COVID-19 safety measures. The government of Austria, which is also seeing record-high case numbers, announced on Friday that COVID-19 vaccination is now mandatory for the entire adult population. This follows a lockdown for unvaccinated Austrians only.

Nearly 80% of Austrian adults are vaccinated, according to the New York Times; the U.S. is in a similar position. But here, all the attention is on booster shots—more than 33 million Americans have now received boosters—and on shots for kids in the recently eligible 5 to 11 age group. About 10% of kids in that age group have now received their first doses, which may seem less impressive when one considers that the U.S. had enough doses for the entire eligible population ready to go when the FDA and CDC approved the shots.

In NYC, where I live, the case rate is now up at about 14 new cases for every 100,000 people, every day. That adds up to almost 100 new cases for every 100,000 people in the last week, meeting the CDC’s threshold for high transmission. About three in every four residents are vaccinated.

To combat this increase, city leaders announced on Monday that all adults were eligible for a booster shot—a few days before the FDA and CDC made the same decision for all adults in the U.S. (More on that eligibility later in this issue.) But no efforts have been made to cut down on indoor dining, curb the crowds in Times Square, or actually enforce mask-wearing on the subway. In this new surge, it truly feels like everyone is out here fending for themselves.

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