The trend continues: COVID-19 spread is still on the decline across the U.S., but it’s a slow decline. These updates are getting pretty repetitive to write, as we’ve been seeing this pattern since late January—which, honestly, I’m taking as a good sign.
You might have seen some headlines like this in the last few weeks: COVID-19 was “mild” this winter. This winter was “better” than previous winters. COVID-19 is becoming “another seasonal virus” like flu and RSV. But looking at the actual data, we can see this is far from the truth.
After a significant post-Thanksgiving spike, COVID-19 transmission in the U.S. appears to be in a high plateau, according to trends in cases and wastewater. Official case counts stayed fairly steady this week compared to the week following the holiday, according to the CDC, while wastewater data from Biobot show coronavirus concentrations leveling out.
It’s now undeniable that Thanksgiving led to a jump in COVID-19 spread: officially-reported cases went up 50% this past week compared to the week of the holiday, following the trend that we first saw in wastewater data. Hospital admissions for COVID-19 also continue to go up.
Nationwide, reported COVID-19 cases and new hospital admissions are still in a plateau; both metrics declined very slightly this week after rising slightly last week (declining by 3% and 1%, respectively).
Continuing a trend from the last few weeks, nationwide COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are still at plateaus or trending very slightly downward. We aren’t clearly in a fall surge yet, but concerning newer Omicron subvariants are rising—along with other respiratory diseases.
I recently received a question from a reader, asking how to follow both COVID-19 and the flu in the county where she lives. For COVID-19, county-level data sources aren’t too hard to find; for the flu, this is much harder.