National numbers, December 12

All major COVID-19 metrics shot up in the U.S. this week. Chart from the December 9 HHS Community Profile Report.

In the past week (December 4 through 10), the U.S. reported about 830,000 new cases, according to the CDC. This amounts to:

  • An average of 119,000 new cases each day
  • 253 total new cases for every 100,000 Americans
  • 37% more new cases than last week (November 27-December 3)

Last week, America also saw:

  • 52,000 new COVID-19 patients admitted to hospitals (16 for every 100,000 people)
  • 7,600 new COVID-19 deaths (2.3 for every 100,000 people)
  • 99.9% of new cases are Delta-caused (as of December 4)
  • An average of 2.3 million vaccinations per day (including booster shots; per Bloomberg)

Remember how, last week, I said that the dip in the CDC’s case counts was a vestige of Thanksgiving data delays—and we’d see more cases in the next week? Well, we’re seeing those cases now. Cases have increased by 37% from last week to this week, and they’ve increased by 55% in the last month.

Hospitalizations are also going up: the number of new COVID-19 patients admitted to hospitals each day has risen 16%, to over 7,000. About 56,000 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in the U.S., as of Thursday. And, tragically, death counts are rising as well: once again, over 1,000 Americans are dying from COVID-19 every day.

Current hotspots include states in the Northeast and Midwest. New Hampshire reported the most cases per capita last week, at 659 new cases for every 100,000 people, per the latest Community Profile Report. Michigan, Minnesota, Rhode Island, and New Mexico also all reported over 500 new cases for every 100,000 people.

In many parts of the country, COVID-19 patients have once again pushed hospitals to their breaking points, as the pandemic intersects with staff shortages and burnout as well as flu and other conditions. “We’re at capacity on a daily basis,” the president of a hospital system in Detroit told a local reporter.

Despite growing Omicron concerns (more on that later), the Delta variant is clearly driving this surge. According to the CDC’s estimates, the Delta variant has caused more than 99% of cases in the week ending December 4, while Omicron has yet to cause even 0.1%. If Omicron is able to outcompete Delta in the U.S., the situation could become even more dire.

It’s now been two years since a COVID-19 patient first sought medical attention, at a hospital in Wuhan, China. Though most Americans didn’t become aware of the pandemic until March 2020, the coronavirus was already spreading in December 2019—meaning that now, in December 2021, we’re entering Year Three of this global crisis. I hope this can be the year that we get vaccines to every country in the world, and truly get the virus under control.

Leave a Reply