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The average number of daily new coronavirus cases in the US has dropped below 100,000 for the first time in months, according to The Associated Press.
Daily counts fell to fewer than 100,000 last week and continue to drop, with 55,000 reported on Monday, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project. Cases were last below 100,000 in early November and peaked at 300,000 per day in early January.
“It’s encouraging to see these trends coming down, but they’re coming down from an extraordinarily high place,” Rochelle Walensky, MD, director of the CDC, said on NBC’s Meet the Press.
“The cases are more than two-and-a-half-fold times what we saw over the summer,” she said.
COVID-19 hospitalizations have also dropped from a high of 132,000 on January 6 to 65,000 on Monday, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project. Deaths are declining as well, but still remain high, with a 7-day average of about 2500 daily. The highest point was around 3500 in mid-January.
Public health officials are continuing to watch for coronavirus variants that appear to be more easily transmitted and could lead to more cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. The US has reported 1173 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant first found in the UK, according to the latest CDC tally updated on Sunday. That variant has been found in 40 states. The CDC has also recorded 17 cases in eight states of the B.1.351 variant, first found in South Africa, and three cases of the P.1 variant, first found in Brazil, in Minnesota, and Oklahoma.
“We can’t let our guard down,” Walensky said. “We have to continue with our current mitigation measures, and we have to continue getting vaccinated as soon as that vaccine is available to us.”
The US has distributed 70 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, and 38.3 million people have received the first dose of the two-shot vaccine, according to a CDC update from Sunday. More than 14 million people have received their second dose.
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