National numbers, February 20

The majority of U.S. counties are still seeing high transmission, according to the CDC, but a few places like Maryland and New York City are starting to fall below this threshold.

In the past week (February 12 through 18), the U.S. reported about 850,000 new COVID-19 cases, according to the CDC. This amounts to:

  • An average of 122,000 new cases each day
  • 259 total new cases for every 100,000 Americans
  • 43% fewer new cases than last week (February 5-11)

Last week, America also saw:

  • 60,000 new COVID-19 patients admitted to hospitals (18 for every 100,000 people)
  • 14,000 new COVID-19 deaths (4.3 for every 100,000 people)
  • 100% of new cases are Omicron-caused (as of February 12)
  • An average of 200,000 vaccinations per day (per Bloomberg)

New COVID-19 cases continue to drop in the U.S. as the country slowly comes down from its Omicron wave. This week, the country reported a total of 850,000 new cases, according to the CDC; it’s the first week under one million new cases have been reported since early December, though we are still seeing over 100,000 new cases a day.

Hospitalizations are also going down, with the Department of Health and Human Services reporting about 65,000 beds in use for confirmed and suspected COVID-19 patients as of Saturday. The hospital circuit breaker dashboard (by Jeremy Faust et al.) shows that the vast majority of U.S. hospitals have capacity, as of this week. Still, over 2,000 Americans continue to die of COVID-19 each day.

At the state level, we continue to see case decreases across the country. The one exception is Maine: this state saw a 350% increase in cases from last week to this week, according to the February 17 Community Profile Report. However, local reports suggest that a number of the new cases reported this week were backlogged—meaning the cases occurred weeks ago and were belatedly added to state tallies.

After over a month of falling case numbers nationwide, some parts of the country are finally dropping below the CDC’s high transmission threshold (100 new cases for every 100,000 residents reported in a week). Maryland is the first state to do this, with 92 new cases for every 100,000 residents reported in the week ending February 17.

New York City, where I live, also fell below the high transmission threshold this week, with 83 new cases for every 100,000 residents reported in the week ending February 15, according to city data. Both New York City and Maryland were early Omicron hotspots and have reported falling case numbers since early January.

While Omicron overall continues to cause 100% of new COVID-19 cases in the country, BA.2, the slightly-more-transmissible sister lineage, is starting to gain ground. The CDC estimates that BA.2 caused 3.9% of new cases in the week ending February 12, compared to 1.5% of new cases in the previous week. As BA.2 continues replacing original Omicron, we’ll see if this subvariant has an impact on the U.S.’s downward case trends.

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