New coronavirus infections continued their sharp decline over the past week, and are now back down to pre-Thanksgiving levels.
The big picture: Given the U.S.’ experience over the past year, it can be hard to trust anything that looks like good news, without fearing that another shoe is about to drop. But the U.S. really is doing something right lately. Cases are way down, vaccinations are way up, and that’s going to save a lot of lives.
By the numbers: On average, just under 65,000 Americans were diagnosed with coronavirus infections every day over the past week. That’s a 20% drop from the week before, and continues a steep downward trend that has lasted more than a month.
- Caseloads got worse over the past week in four states — Idaho, New Hampshire, Washington and Wyoming — and improved in 34 states.
- Hospitalizations were unchanged over the past week, but deaths fell by 24%. The coronavirus is now killing about 2,000 Americans per day.
- The U.S. conducted an average of about 1.4 million coronavirus tests per day over the past week, and is administering about 1.4 million vaccine doses per day.
What’s next: It’s true that more contagious variants of COVID-19 could cause cases — and therefore hospitalizations and deaths — to spike again. But the best protection against that risk is to curb the virus’ spread and ramp up vaccinations — which we’re doing.
The bottom line: If we can keep this up, some form of post-pandemic life is within our reach.
Each week, Axios tracks the change in new infections in each state. We use a seven-day average to minimize the effects of day-to-day discrepancies in states’ reporting.