National numbers, December 5

Though Omicron is making headlines, Delta is still causing 100% of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. Chart via the CDC, screenshot taken on December 5.

In the past week (November 27 through December 3), the U.S. reported about 600,000 new cases, according to the CDC. This amounts to:

  • An average of 86,000 new cases each day
  • 184 total new cases for every 100,000 Americans
  • 8% fewer new cases than last week (November 20-26)

Last week, America also saw:

  • 45,000 new COVID-19 patients admitted to hospitals (14 for every 100,000 people)
  • 6,000 new COVID-19 deaths (1.8 for every 100,000 people)
  • 100% of new cases are Delta-caused (as of November 27)
  • An average of one million vaccinations per day (including booster shots; per Bloomberg)

Don’t be fooled by the apparent case decline in the CDC’s numbers: the U.S. is still in the midst of a new surge. The agency reported fewer cases last week due to Thanksgiving holiday delays, but we can expect cases to shoot up next week as delayed cases are added to the data.

I use the CDC for these updates because I find the national agency’s data reliable and easy to access, but the CDC does tend to be more heavily impacted by reporting delays than other sources which compile numbers from U.S. states or counties. For example, the New York Times is reporting a daily new case average of 108,000 as of December 4, while BNO Newsroom has reported over 100,000 new cases for five days in a row.

Meanwhile, hospitalizations are ticking up: with 45,000 new COVID-19 patients admitted to U.S. hospitals last week and almost 50,000 people currently hospitalized, as of December 2. Hospitalizations are one COVID-19 metric that tends to be less impacted by holidays, as the hospitals collecting these data don’t take days off.

Northern states continue to lead the country in new cases per capita. According to the latest Community Profile Report, top hotspots are New Hampshire, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. New Hampshire reported over 500 new cases for every 100,000 people in the last week, and is continually setting new COVID-19 records.

Michigan is seeing more cases now than it has in any previous surge, and the state’s hospital systems—like many others—are facing dire staff shortages, along with increased numbers of flu patients. The state has almost 900 fewer staffed hospital beds now than in November 2020, according to ABC News.

While the Omicron variant has now been identified in more than ten U.S. states (more on that below), the Delta variant is still driving this current surge. According to the CDC’s latest variant data, 100% of new cases in the country are caused by Delta. In the coming weeks, we’ll see how much Omicron is able to compete.

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