For the first time this year no state in the country saw more than 10,000 new COVID-19 cases across a seven-day average, it was reported on Tuesday, in the latest encouraging sign in pandemic progress.
The COVID Tracking Project found that every single state is showing a decline in numbers compared to January.
New York, California, Florida and Texas remained the hardest-hit states – but all had fewer than 10,000 new cases, on average, across the last seven days.
An 89-year-old woman in South Central Los Angeles receives her vaccination on Tuesday
A vaccine is readied in Chelsea, Massachusetts on Tuesday as a nationwide program continues
The seven-day average of deaths is at its lowest level this year, in encouraging news
Wyoming and Hawaii, at the other end of the spectrum, both reported a seven-day rolling average in the single digits.
Hawaii had 67 new cases; Wyoming 74.
The researchers reported on Tuesday 56,000 new cases from 1.1 million tests.
They found 64,533 people were currently hospitalized with COVID-19, and 1,353 deaths were recorded.
Tuesday’s data is the latest hopeful sign that the pandemic could, finally, be on the retreat.
Last week the United States reported a 23 per cent drop in new cases of COVID-19 and a 16 per cent fall in the number of people hospitalized with the virus, with both figures declining for a fifth week in a row.
President Joe Biden vowed on Tuesday the COVID vaccine will be available to every American ‘by the end of July,’ with millions of additional doses on the way.
He predicted herd immunity may be achieved as early as Christmas.
Biden made the promise during a CNN town hall on the pandemic as his administration faces questions about its target numbers to get the vaccine into the arms of every American.
The first question from moderator Anderson Cooper was ‘when is every American who wants it going to be able to get a vaccine.’
‘By the end of July of this year,’ Biden responded. ‘By the end of July, we’ll have over 600 million doses – enough to vaccinate every single American.’
He claimed not enough vaccines were available when he took office on January 20.
‘We came into office there was only 50 million doses that are available,’ he said.
His administration has repeatedly criticized the Trump administration for not having enough doses of the vaccine or a plan in place to distribute it.
‘I mean there was nothing in the refrigerator figuratively or literally speaking,’ Biden said of vaccine availability when he took office.
The progress against the virus, however, is threatened by several new variants, experts said, adding that face masks and social distancing measures were still very much needed.
About four per cent of cases in the country are related to a more contagious variant first detected in the United Kingdom, according to Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
‘We have projections that it may be the dominant strain by the end of March,’ she told CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday.
The country logged more than 639,000 new COVID-19 cases in the week ended February 14, according to a Reuters analysis of state and county reports.
Compared to the previous week, new cases increased in only three out of 50 states: Alaska, Nebraska and South Dakota.
Deaths fell for a second week in a row, down 1.8 per cent last week to 21,787.
Excluding a backlog of deaths reported by Ohio, fatalities were down 15 per cent last week.
Cumulatively, nearly 486,000 people have died from the virus in the United States, or one in every 673 residents.