National numbers, March 6

About 90% of the U.S. population now lives in a medium- or low-level COVID-19 “Community Level,” according to the CDC.

In the past week (February 26 through March 4), the U.S. reported about 371,000 new COVID-19 cases, according to the CDC. This amounts to:

  • An average of 53,000 new cases each day
  • 113 total new cases for every 100,000 Americans
  • 29% fewer new cases than last week (February 19-25)

Last week, America also saw:

  • 30,000 new COVID-19 patients admitted to hospitals (9 for every 100,000 people)
  • 11,000 new COVID-19 deaths (3.3 for every 100,000 people)
  • 100% of new cases are Omicron-caused (as of February 26)
  • An average of 140,000 vaccinations per day (per Bloomberg)

New COVID-19 cases continue falling in the U.S. as the Omicron wave fizzles out. This week, the CDC reported an average of 53,000 new cases a day—less than one-tenth the cases reported at the peak of this surge.

Hospitalization metrics also continue falling. About 30,000 new COVID-19 patients were admitted to U.S. hospitals this week, compared to almost 150,000 at the peak of the surge. According to the Hospital Circuit Breaker dashboard, only two states are currently at or over hospital capacity: Nebraska and Vermont.

We’re now in the second week of the CDC’s new “Community Level” guidance for safety precautions tied to regional COVID-19 metrics. As of this week, “more than 90% of the U.S. population is in a location with low or medium COVID-19 Community Level,” according to the agency.

Of course, the agency’s old guidance—still available on its COVID-19 dashboard—is less generous. According to these metrics, almost half of the country is still seeing “high community transmission,” with more than 100 new cases per 100,000 people in the last week. Remember, even though case numbers are much lower now than they were in early January, the Omicron surge warped our whole sense of COVID-19 proportion.

Meanwhile, some parts of the country where Omicron arrived and peaked earlier are now in distinct plateaus. This includes Washington, D.C. and New York City; in NYC, case rates have actually started ticking back up very slightly in the last week.

I personally trust NYC case numbers more than that metric in other places because the city still has widely available public testing. But as other cities and states close testing sites and redirect people to at-home tests, case numbers will continue becoming less reliable over the coming weeks. So, I am thinking about shifting these national updates to focus more on other metrics, like hospitalizations and wastewater.

Readers, what do you think? Any recommendations for metrics you’d like to read more about here? Comment below or email me and let me know.

Leave a Reply