National numbers, October 16

After a small uptick in vaccinations thanks to the new boosters, vaccinations are already slowing again. Chart via the CDC, data as of October 12.

In the past week (October 8 through 14), the U.S. reported about 270,000 new COVID-19 cases, according to the CDC. This amounts to:

  • An average of 39,000 new cases each day
  • 83 total new cases for every 100,000 Americans
  • 12% fewer new cases than last week (October 1-7)

In the past week, the U.S. also reported about 23,000 new COVID-19 patients admitted to hospitals. This amounts to:

  • An average of 3,300 new admissions each day
  • 7.0 total admissions for every 100,000 Americans
  • 4% fewer new admissions than last week

Additionally, the U.S. reported:

  • 2,300 new COVID-19 deaths (330 per day)
  • 12% of new cases are caused by Omicron BA.4.6; 11% by BQ.1 and BQ.1.1; 5% by BF.7;  3% by BA.2.75 and BA.2.75.2 (as of October 15)
  • An average of 400,000 vaccinations per day

While official case numbers remain low compared to past fall seasons—both national cases and hospital admissions dropped again this week—signals of a coming fall surge are accumulating from wastewater and local data.

According to Biobot’s dashboard, the coronavirus continues to spread in the Northeast at higher levels than the rest of the country with a new uptick this week. In places like Franklin County, Massachusetts, Fairfield County, Connecticut, and Middlesex County, New Jersey, coronavirus levels are higher now than they have been at any point in the last six months.

Similar patterns are starting to show up in clinical data: Northeast states including Vermont, Maine, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey reported increased COVID-19 patients this past week, according to the October 13 Community Profile Report.

Along with colder weather and behavior patterns, new Omicron lineages could contribute to the increased transmission—if they aren’t contributing already. BQ.1 and BQ.1.1, two sublineages from BA.5, are now causing about 11% of new cases nationwide, according to the CDC’s most recent variant prevalence update. In the northeast, their prevalence is approaching to 20%. (More on the new subvariants in the next post.)

As many of the sublineages now circulating are descended from BA.5 or BA.4, the bivalent booster shots designed to protect against these variants should still help protect against newer strains. In fact, the FDA and CDC recently expanded eligibility for these new shots to younger age groups, going down to kids ages five to eleven.

But uptake of the new boosters remains low—in part because public communication has been so limited, many Americans don’t know they qualify for these shots. Only 15 million people have received the boosters as of October 12, a tiny fraction of the eligible population.

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