US COVID-19 cases down 30% in past week

COVID-19 vaccinator
COVID-19 vaccinator

Governor Tom Wolf / Flickr cc

Today, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, said the new 7-day average of daily COVID-19 cases has dropped to 15,600, a 30% decrease from last week and a 94% decrease from the pandemic peak in January.

She also said that the United States confirmed 9,358 new coronavirus cases reported on Wednesday, the lowest daily total since March 2020. "This is the kind of news I like to deliver," she said.

The CDC COVID Data Tracker shows that 366,977,535 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been delivered in the United States, and 296,912,892 have been administered, with 136,155,250 Americans fully vaccinated.

US to share 25 million vaccine doses globally

As the United States turns the corner on the pandemic, the White House also announced in a press briefing that it will share 25 million vaccine doses with countries in need of supply. That represents 75% of the country's unused vaccines.

About 19 million of those vaccines will be distributed through COVAX, the World Health Organization’s initiative to get vaccines to low- and middle-income countries. Another 6 million will be shared through regional partnerships the United States has already established with countries such as Canada, Mexico, and Korea.

Officials said the United States will keep 25% of its unused vaccine stockpile in case of emergency.

"We will continue to donate additional doses across the summer months as supply comes available," said Jeff Zients, White House COVID-19 coordinator, during the briefing. "But at the same time, we know that won't be sufficient. So the second part of our approach is working with U.S. vaccine manufacturers to vastly increase vaccine supply for the rest of the world in a way that also creates jobs here at home."

Zients said the US government will withdraw the Defense Production Act priority ratings for the AstraZeneca, Novavax, and Sanofi vaccines, which will allow those manufacturers to distribute vaccines to priority countries.

The global sharing of vaccines, Zients said, is already under way, with 1 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine en route to Korea today.

Other US developments

  • COVID-19 deaths in US nursing homes now account for 31% of all COVID-19 deaths in the country, down from 43% a year ago, according to the New York Times. Since late March, nursing homes have reported fewer than 300 deaths a week, down from 5,000 a week in early December through mid-January.

  • With many Americans traveling and most pandemic restrictions loosened, epidemiologists and public health officials are looking at the Memorial Day weekend as the first major test of the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccinations in the United States, according to the Wall Street Journal

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