America’s tally of new cases ticked down slightly for the first time since Christmas, a USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins University data shows.
The country reported 5.23 million cases in the week ending Tuesday, down from 5.28 million cases in the seven-day period ending Monday. The earlier tally likely included tests deferred into that week from a long holiday weekend.
U.S. case counts are up 34% from a week ago, and on Tuesday 47 states reported higher case counts than a week earlier; 21 states set records for cases in a week; 48 states reported more COVID-19 patients in hospital beds; and 41 states reported more COVID-19 patients in intensive-care units, data from Johns Hopkins and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services show.
Still, there are encouraging signs. Boston has been a hot spot, but Dr. Mark Siedner of Massachusetts General Hospital told CBS in Boston there are early signs the city has “turned a corner.” One of those signs is a wastewater tracking system – virus particles found in wastewater are no longer infectious but can still be measured and can reflect trends among people contributing to the wastewater.
“The wastewater data are in, and the news is good,” tweeted Bill Hanage, associate professor at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. The data is “providing solid evidence, that importantly can’t be put down to exhausted testing capacity or other factors.”
– Mike Stucka
Also in the news:
►Unvaccinated Virginians became infected at four times the rate of fully vaccinated state residents over the two-week period that ended Jan. 1, state health officials said. The hospitalization and death rates were also about four times higher.
►The consumer price index jumped 7% last year, the fastest pace since 1982, the Labor Department said Wednesday. COVID-driven worker shortages and supply-chain bottlenecks were blamed.
►West Virginia Governor Jim Justice has tested positive for COVID-19 and is “experiencing moderate symptoms,” the governor tweeted Tuesday night. Gov. Justice is fully vaccinated and boosted.
►Scientists are seeing signals that COVID-19′s alarming omicron wave may have peaked in Britain. The variant has proved so wildly contagious that it may already be running out of people to infect.
►The United States is facing its worst blood shortage in more than a decade, largely as a result of a drop in blood drives because of the pandemic, the American Red Cross said.
📈Today’s numbers: The U.S. has recorded more than 62 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 842,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Global totals: More than 314.2 million cases and nearly 5.5 million deaths. More than 207 million Americans – 62.6% – are fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
📘What we’re reading: Omicron hit the U.S. hard and fast in the past month, but modeling by several universities shows the wave of infections may have crested — and hospitalizations and deaths should follow.
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