During the most recent week of data available (July 9 through 15), the U.S. reported about 7,100 new COVID-19 patients admitted to hospitals, according to the CDC. This amounts to:
- An average of 1,000 new admissions each day
- 2.2 total admissions for every 100,000 Americans
- 10% more new admissions than the prior week (July 2-8)
Additionally, the U.S. reported:
- 7.6% of tests in the CDC’s surveillance network came back positive
- A 17% higher concentration of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater than last week (as of July 26, per Biobot’s dashboard)
- 24% of new cases are caused by Omicron XBB.1.6; 19% by XBB.1.9; 13% by XBB.2.3 (as of July 22)
Several major metrics continue to point to a summer increase in COVID-19 spread. Coronavirus levels in wastewater are up in all major regions, as is test positivity from the CDC’s network. Hospitalizations have started ticking up as well.
Nationally, coronavirus levels in wastewater have doubled in the last month, according to Biobot Analytics. Viral levels are on par with this period in summer 2021, at the start of that year’s Delta surge, and are the highest they’ve been since this year’s holiday surge concluded.
Data from the WastewaterSCAN network similarly shows COVID-19 upticks in the last month, though the team’s latest national update notes that current levels are still low compared to the start of 2023. WastewaterSCAN recently added national wastewater levels to its dashboard, making it easier to track broad trends from this sewage testing network.
Test positivity data from the CDC’s respiratory lab network are still increasing as well. National test positivity was 7.6% in the week ending July 22, compared to 4.5% about a month ago, an increase of about 70%.
The CDC’s hospitalization data are also showing an increase now: new COVID-19 patients admitted to hospitals went up by about 10% from the week ending July 8 to the week ending July 15. These are the most recent hospitalization numbers available, as the CDC is still reporting this metric with a delay.
Wastewater and positivity data suggest that COVID-19 spread is increasing in all major regions of the country. All regions are also dealing with the virus’ continued evolution, as a variety of XBB lineages circulate and compete with each other.
Several national publications reported on these COVID-19 increases in the last week, pointing to the potential for a summer surge. I personally liked this article from Dylan Scott at Vox, which also covers implications for COVID-19 this winter.
But the COVID-19 Data Dispatch was on this potential surge weeks before any mainstream media news site. If you appreciate our early warnings, please donate to support this work!