For the first time since Nov. 4, average daily new coronavirus cases in the United States recently dipped below 100,000, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.
Despite the promising milestone, experts told The Association Press that infection counts remain high and precautions should remain in place to slow the pandemic’s spread.
“We are still at about 100,000 cases a day. We are still at around 1,500 to 3,500 deaths per day. The cases are more than two-and-a-half-fold times what we saw over the summer,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.
“It’s encouraging to see these trends coming down, but they’re coming down from an extraordinarily high place,” Walensky added.
According to the Johns Hopkins tally, the seven-day rolling average of new infections dropped below 100,000 on Friday and maintained that level Saturday. By comparison, the figure hovered well above 200,00 for the majority of December and neared 250,000 in January, the AP reported.
Walensky cautioned during her “Meet the Press” interview, however, that new variants, including a highly transmissible one first detected in the United Kingdom that has already infected more than 30 states, will likely lead to increased cases and deaths.
“We can’t let our guard down,” she said. “We have to continue wearing masks. We have to continue with our current mitigation measures. And we have to continue getting vaccinated as soon as that vaccine is available to us.”
By 8:24 p.m. ET Sunday, the United Stated had recorded more than 27.6 million cumulative COVID-19 cases, resulting in more than 485,000 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins data.
Meanwhile, the CDC reported that as of Sunday morning, more than 70 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been distributed nationwide, and nearly 53 million of those doses have been administered, The Guardian reported.
According to the figures – which include data for both the Moderna and the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines – slightly more than 14 million people in the U.S. have received both vaccine doses, required to achieve inoculation, the outlet reported.
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