Data: CSSE Johns Hopkins University; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios
Coronavirus cases are holding steady across the U.S. as vaccinations increase and states continue to loosen their safety measures.
By the numbers: The U.S. averaged about 65,000 new cases per day over the past week, essentially unchanged from the week before.
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Daily case counts increased in 13 states and declined in nine.
The biggest improvement was in Alabama, which saw a 33% drop in new cases. The biggest deterioration was in Nebraska, which saw a 52% jump. (Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts suggested the jump could be partly due to a data issue.)
Michigan, which has emerged as a hotspot in the latest phase of the pandemic, recorded an average of about 6,700 new cases per day over the past week, up 24% from the week before.
But things improved in New York, which has also emerged as a potential hotspot in the pandemic’s burgeoning fourth wave. Daily cases there were down by about 7% over the past week.
What we’re watching: The U.S. administered an average of 3 million vaccine doses per day over the past week, according to Bloomberg’s vaccine tracker. Roughly 33% of American adults have gotten at least one shot, and 19% are fully vaccinated.
The bottom line: The vaccines will ultimately be our way out of this pandemic, if Americans keep getting vaccinated at this rate. The big question is how quick and how clean that ending will be.
Hovering around 65,000 cases per day, even with such rapid vaccinations, means that a significant fourth wave is still on the table.
It almost certainly wouldn’t be as deadly as previous surges, but it could give rise to more new variants and ultimately prolong COVID-19’s presence in our lives.
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