National numbers, February 12

National COVID-19 cases have reached a plateau. Note that the cases reported to the CDC are a significant undercount of actual infections.

In the past week (February 2 through 8), the U.S. officially reported about 280,000 new COVID-19 cases, according to the CDC. This amounts to:

  • An average of 40,000 new cases each day
  • 86 total new cases for every 100,000 Americans
  • 1% fewer new cases than last week (January 26-February 1)

In the past week, the U.S. also reported about 26,000 new COVID-19 patients admitted to hospitals. This amounts to:

  • An average of 3,700 new admissions each day
  • 7.8 total admissions for every 100,000 Americans
  • 6% fewer new admissions than last week

Additionally, the U.S. reported:

  • 3,200 new COVID-19 deaths (450 per day)
  • 75% of new cases are caused by Omicron XBB.1.5; 20% by BQ.1 and BQ.1.1; 1% by CH.1.1 (as of February 11)
  • An average of 80,000 vaccinations per day

Nationwide, COVID-19 spread appears to be in a plateau: not substantially increasing, but not substantially decreasing, either. Officially-reported cases dropped by only 1% this week compared to the week prior, while wastewater data shows that the coronavirus concentration in our sewage hasn’t changed significantly for the last month.

Hospitalizations continue to decline for flu and RSV as well as COVID-19, according to the CDC’s data from emergency departments. But the COVID-19 decline has slowed, remaining consistent at a higher level than the flu and RSV declines. About 3,700 people were newly hospitalized for COVID-19 every day last week.

At the regional level, COVID-19 spread is still declining (from a relatively higher winter peak) in the Northeast, and is solidly in a plateau in the South and West, per Biobot’s regional data. The Midwest reported a slight uptick this past week, continuing a trend that I noted in last weekend’s National Numbers.

Some of the highest case, wastewater, and hospitalization increases reported right now are coming from the upper Midwest: Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Idaho. COVID-19 spread is also trending up in Alabama, Kansas, New Hampshire, and West Virginia, along with other states in the Midwest and South, per the latest Community Profile Report.

Omicron XBB.1.5, the latest and most contagious version of the virus, is spreading across these regions and may be contributing to increased cases. According to the CDC’s latest estimates, XBB.1.5 now accounts for more than half of new cases in every region of the country, and about 75% of new cases nationwide.

No other variants are trending up right now; XBB.1.5 has solidly outcompeted the rest of the “variant soup” in the U.S. Experts will doubtless be watching for this subvariant to further evolve, while we also look out for any new variants from other parts of the world.

Meanwhile, the daily average of new COVID-19 vaccinations in the U.S. has dropped under 100,000 for the first time since the country’s vaccination campaign started in winter 2020. New booster doses continue to be heavily underutilized.

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