National numbers, June 12

Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 (shown here in teal) have been spreading rapidly in the U.S. in the last month. CDC data are as of June 4.

In the past week (June 4 through June 10), the U.S. reported about 760,000 new COVID-19 cases, according to the CDC. This amounts to:

  • An average of 110,000 new cases each day
  • 233 total new cases for every 100,000 Americans
  • 8% more new cases than last week (May 28-June 3)

In the past week, the U.S. also reported about 29,000 new COVID-19 patients admitted to hospitals. This amounts to:

  • An average of 4,100 new admissions each day
  • 8.8 total admissions for every 100,000 Americans
  • 8% more new admissions than last week

Additionally, the U.S. reported:

  • 2,100 new COVID-19 deaths (0.7 for every 100,000 people)
  • 62% of new cases are Omicron BA.2.12.1-caused; 13% BA.4/BA.5-caused (as of June 4)
  • An average of 90,000 vaccinations per day (per Bloomberg)

As I predicted last week, the brief dip in reported COVID-19 cases was a result of the Memorial Day holiday, not an actual signal of the BA.2/BA.2.12.1 wave reaching its peak. National case counts are up again this week, with the country still reporting over 100,000 new cases a day. And remember, the true infection rate could be five or more times higher, thanks to under-testing.

Hospital admissions, a more reliable metric (less impacted by holiday interruptions) also went up this week. The number of Americans admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 has risen steadily each week since early April.

Even as millions of people are protected from severe symptoms by vaccination or prior infection, many are still susceptible—whether they’re too young to be vaccinated or have not yet received booster shots for which they are eligible. Plus, the U.S. continues to have next to zero data on Long COVID cases, a debilitating, long-term condition that can impact even people who are fully vaccinated and boosted.

Highly contagious Omicron subvariants continue to drive this surge. BA.2.12.1, the subvariant first identified in New York, is now causing almost two-thirds of cases nationwide, according to the CDC’s latest estimates. Meanwhile, the agency is finally listing separate estimates for BA.4 and BA.5, subvariants with greater capacity to reinfect people (even those who already had other versions of Omicron.)

BA.4 and BA.5 caused about 13% of cases combined in the week ending June 4, and are spreading fast. These two subvariants are currently more prevalent in parts of the Midwest and South, while BA.2.12.1 is more dominant in the Northeast. This pattern might partially explain why the Northeast is seeing virus transmission decrease or plateau, while other regions report increases.

Wastewater data from Biobot show a similar picture: a downward trend in the Northeast, offset by upward trends in the other regions. Cities like Boston and New York City are showing somewhat confusing signals right now, as Memorial Day travel and gatherings may have interrupted the decline.

According to the CDC’s old community transmission levels (which are based on cases, not hospitalizations), about 96% of U.S. counties are currently reporting high transmission—and should recommend masking in public. But new mask requirements or other safety measures have been few and far between as this surge remains largely invisible.

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