U.S. coronavirus infections are at their lowest level since the early weeks of the pandemic in March 2020, it was reported Thursday.
The country averaged about 16,500 new cases per day during the past week, a 30% improvement over the week before, Axios reported.
With fewer than 20,000 cases per day, the U.S. has gotten the virus to a level that just about every expert agrees is safe, according to Axios.
Among the findings by Axios, which has tracked weekly COVID-19 cases during the last year, were:
- New York, with a population of 20 million, is averaging about 800 new cases per day.
- Washington, D.C. has about 28 new cases per day.
- Florida, with more than 20 million residents, has more cases per day — about 1,800, on average — than any other state. However, the state's daily case count fell by 25% in the last week.
Official case counts haven't been this low since the U.S. went into lockdown in March of last year. At that time, no one knew how long the pandemic would last, and early inadequate testing resulted in cases being undercounted.
Following national lockdowns last spring, the U.S. saw a second wave last summer, when daily cases averaged more than 65,000. Hospitals around the country were overwhelmed.
Then during the winter, hundreds of thousands of Americans per day were contracting the virus. Deaths climbed to more than 3,000 daily for about a month.
About 10% of the U.S. population — roughly 33 million Americans — have tested positive for COVID-19.
More than 600,000 people in the U.S. have died from the virus. Axios said that makes it deadlier for Americans than the past 80 years of wars and conflicts combined.
The key in reducing the number of infections was the development of a vaccine. Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson each have produced a COVID-19 vaccine.
Moderna Inc. on Tuesday filed for full U.S. approval of its COVID-19 vaccine for adults, the second drugmaker to do so after Pfizer and German partner BioNTech sought full clearance for their vaccine last month.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's emergency use authorization allowed use of the vaccines during the pandemic.
More than half of American adults are fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Interest in vaccinations rose after CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky announced that vaccinated people could remove their masks.
The risk for unvaccinated people remains about as high as ever, the Washington Post recently reported. An average of nearly 500 Americans, almost all of them unvaccinated, are dying daily from COVID-19.
With cases still soaring around the globe, especially in developing countries, the Biden administration is facing mounting pressure to export more vaccines.
Axios said immunity from vaccines likely will decrease over time. That, as well as new variants of the virus, probably will require booster shots to prevent another outbreak.
Due to the lessening numbers, Axios said it no longer will produce a weekly COVID-19 map.
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