On the eve of the Memorial Day weekend, the two main metrics that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) uses to track US COVID-19 activity—hospitalizations and deaths—continue to decline, according to the latest data. Hospitalizations for COVID are down 11% compared to a week ago, and deaths from the virus are down 13.3%.
The hospitalization map, which reflects activity by county, replaces the CDC's earlier community levels, and there are currently only a few hot spots, some in Texas and in small portions of Nebraska and Louisiana.
Early indicators—regional test positivity and emergency department (ED) visits—also show no signs of increase. Test positivity at the national level is 4.3%, down 0.7% from a week ago. The only region showing a slight increase is the part of the Southwest that includes California, Nevada, and Arizona. Only 0.5% of ED visits last week were due to COVID, down 10.8% from the previous week. There are no major rises in COVID positivity in wastewater surveillance.
The CDC also released its latest variant proportion estimates, which show a handful of newer XBB Omicron subvariants continuing to chip away at the XBB 1.5 dominance, which has declined to 53.8%. The XBB subvariants showing small but steady increases include XBB.1.16 (15.1%), XBB.1.9.1 (11.8%), XBB.1.9.2 (6.1%), and XBB.2.3 (4.8%).
CDC details outbreak at its conference
The CDC today shared its findings in its investigation into a COVID-19 outbreak in people who attended its Epidemic Intelligence Service conference in Atlanta from April 24 to April 27. Among 1,443 survey respondents, there were 181 COVID infections (13%), and those who tested positive were much more likely to have attended 3 or more days of the event. No hospitalizations were reported.
The findings ... support previous data that demonstrate that COVID-19 vaccines, antiviral treatments, and immunity from previous infection continue to provide people with protection against serious illness.
Nearly all case-patients had received at least one vaccine dose, and 49 (27%) received antiviral treatment. When asked about masks, 70% said they didn't wear one. The conference in Atlanta was held when community levels were low, for which masking wasn't recommended according to CDC guidance. "The findings of this rapid assessment support previous data that demonstrate that COVID-19 vaccines, antiviral treatments, and immunity from previous infection continue to provide people with protection against serious illness," the agency said.