US daily COVID-19 cases fall below 500K, data shows
For the first time in weeks, new daily COVID-19 cases in the U.S. were reported below the 500,000 mark.
Data from the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center showed Wednesday that new cases tallied 398,914.
New deaths, however, have been on an upward trend amidst this winter’s surge of the omicron variant of the coronavirus, the university’s data showed 3,622 new deaths in the past day.
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According to the Centers for Disease Control Prevention (CDC), case numbers have been trending downward over the last 30 days.
The agency shows Kentucky, Washington Alaska as the states with the highest cases for every 100,000 people over the last seven days.
As of Jan 31, the CDC reported the seven-day moving average of cases at 446,355.
Johns Hopkins reports that the U.S. has seen more than 75 million cases 890,770 deaths.
Some state officials have said in recent weeks that hospitalizations are down – marking a positive trend – but they’re not down everywhere hospitals have been overextended trying to manage an influx of cases staffing shortages.
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White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci told the New York Times’ “The Daily” podcast on Jan. 31 that he is “hoping” the U.S. is heading into a phase where it resembles the infections that the country has learned to live with.
But, he said, that would be the “best-case scenario,” assuming vaccinations continue as well as “other mitigations” like antiviral drugs testing.
“If we had all those, then this virus could integrate itself into the background of viruses that we do deal with. We don’t like them. They do cause some deaths. They do cause some morbidity hospitalization. But, we live with respiratory syncytial virus parainfluenza even influenza which is much more seasonal, as it were,” the nation’s top infectious disease expert explained. “So, that’s why I say I’m cautiously optimistic, even though we must be prepared for the worst-case scenario.”
Fauci said the “worst-case scenario” is that another variant that alludes background immunity in the community might be very pathogenic spreads just as “we think things are going in the right direction.”
He also noted that, currently “we are not there yet” in certain regions, that it would likely be “a little bit more painful” in states regions with a low level of vaccination, due to recent hospitalizations.
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“Having said all that, we still could be going in the right direction, I believe that we are,” Fauci said, citing data from the upper Northeast the upper Midwest highlighting that omicron “appears to be less severe.”
More boosters, he said, would “hasten ensure” the U.S. getting to the aforementioned phase.