Coronavirus hospitalizations in the U.S. are down to their lowest level since Nov. 24, according to The COVID Tracking Project, as signs of improvement in the pandemic appear evident across essentially the entire United States.
On Thursday, there were 88,668 Covid-19 patients in U.S. hospitals, which remains well above the height of the spring and summer surges of 2020 but a significant drop from the record high of 132,474 hospitalized on Jan. 6.
The rate of new cases in the U.S. has been declining for weeks, and is now averaging just under 120,000 a day for the first time since Nov. 5, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Deaths, which lag behind increases in other metrics and have been at record levels, appear to finally be on the decline.
The 7-day rolling average for deaths has dropped every day during February, and is now below 3,000 a day, according to The COVID Tracking Project.
What To Watch For
Health officials are warning against complacency, especially with new strains of Covid that seem much more contagious, like the U.K. and South African varieties, that are spreading in the United States.
“Now is not the time to let our guard down. Keep taking steps to protect each other,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said at a briefing Wednesday.
Vaccination efforts are continuing to ramp up in the United States. As of Thursday evening, around 36.7 million Covid shots had been administered around the U.S., according to a Bloomberg tracker, with estimated 2.3% of the population fully vaccinated with two doses of either Pfizer or Moderna shots. And more help is likely on the way. On Thursday evening, Johnson & Johnson applied for emergency use authorization with the FDA for its vaccine, which only requires a single dose. Dr. Anthony Fauci said he expects approval to come “within a week or so,” and the company appears on track for a March rollout.