Rate of US COVID-19 cases continues to drop

Negative rapid COVID-19 test
Negative rapid COVID-19 test

Michele Ursi / iStock

Today during a White House press briefing, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, said she was cautiously optimistic about the trajectory the United States was currently on, 2 months after the Omicron variant became the dominant strain in the nation.

Jeff Zients, the White House COVID-19 pandemic response coordinator, said, "We are moving towards a time when COVID-19 isn't a crisis."

Walensky said the 7-day daily average of new cases was 147,000 cases per day, a decrease of 40%. New hospitalizations dropped by 28% over the previous week, to an average of 9,500 per day. Deaths decreased by 9%, to 2,200 per day.

The United States reported 110,453 new COVID-19 cases yesterday and 2,595 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 tracker.

Throughout the briefing, both Walensky and Zients said the CDC and the federal government were working to write new guidelines for the next phase of the pandemic.

"The CDC is looking at all of its guidance, including its mask guidance, in light of falling cases," said Zients.

Disney, Tyson to drop mask mandates

Walt Disney World in Florida will drop mask mandates for fully vaccinated visitors beginning tomorrow, as will Disneyland in California, the New York Times reports. And there will be no vaccination, testing, or masking requirements for this year's Coachella and Stagecoach music festivals in Southern California, ABC News reports.

Many private companies are following the lead of states, who have taken a do-it-yourself approach to dismantling pandemic measures in light of waning Omicron activity and stable vaccination levels.

The CDC COVID Data Tracker shows that 64.5% of Americans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, 76% have received at least one dose of vaccine, and 43% of fully vaccinated Americans have received a booster dose.

Tyson Foods said yesterday it was ending mask requirements for its vaccinated workers in some facilities, the Associated Press reports. 

Yesterday, Walmart said all vaccinated employees were also exempt from masking, and now the nation's second-largest employer, Amazon, has also said fully vaccinated workers no longer will be required to wear masks in warehouses.

Califf new head of FDA

  • The Senate yesterday voted 50-46 to confirm Robert Califf, MD, as the next head of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), NPR reports.

  • Government mortality statistics show the United States has recorded more than 1 million excess deaths since the beginning of the pandemic, the Washington Post reports. The death toll for the United States since the pandemic began stands at 927,149, according to Johns Hopkins University.

  • The Biden administration plans to seek $30 billion in new federal funding for the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, CBS News reports.

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