US COVID-19 cases drop, but hospitalizations in unvaccinated still high

Hospital patient with nasal cannula

The 7-day average of US COVID-19 infections is 446,400 new cases a day, a decrease of 36% from the previous week, according to Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Walensky shared the encouraging data during a White House press briefing today, noting that the 7-day daily average of new hospitalizations had also decreased—by 14%, to 17,100 each day—and deaths had decreased by 4%, to 2,300 per day.

The United States reported 398,914 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, and 3,622 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 tracker.

Unvaccinated 14 times at risk of death

"Hospitalizations remain high, and deaths also remain quite high," Walensky said, before she detailed data on how and if vaccination status was linked to current hospitalizations.

Walensky said the latest data on the Omicron wave show the unvaccinated were at a 14-times-greater risk from dying from COVID-19 than vaccinated and boosted peers. She also said 54% of those currently hospitalized for COVID-19 in the United States were unvaccinated.

"People currently hospitalized for COVID-19 are disproportionately unvaccinated and unboostered," she said.

The HHS Protect Public Data Hub shows 126,554 inpatient beds in use for COVID-19.

More parents open to vaccination

Growing shares of American parents say their eligible children have gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the latest survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Half of parents polled said they worried about their child becoming seriously ill from COVID-19. But the latest surge due to the Omicron variant has done little to sway parents who are committed to keeping their children unvaccinated: 80% said the variant does not make a difference in their choice.

Three in ten parents of children under 5 years old say they'll get their child vaccinated right away once a vaccine is approved for that age-group, up from one in five in July. The Food and Drug Administration has signaled it will likely approve use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in preschoolers by the end of the month.

The CDC COVID Data Tracker shows 63.8% of Americans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, 75.4% have received at least one dose, and 41.7% of vaccinated Americans have received a booster dose.

Respirators, masks, and nursing home testing

  • The White House says the federal government has shipped 100 million free N95 respirators so far, ABC News reports.

  • The American Civil Liberties Union yesterday sued Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin and his administration over his order making masks optional in Virginia's public schools, Reuters reported today. 

  • Federal data show that more nursing homes are waiting longer for COVID-19 test results for residents and staffers, making the fight against record numbers of Omicron cases even harder, according to Kaiser Health News.

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