The United States reported a 3% percent decline in the number of new infections last week, but health officials warned of Covid-19 variants stalling the fight against the global pandemic.
“I remain deeply concerned about a potential shift in the trajectory of the pandemic. The latest data continue to suggest that recent declines in cases have levelled off at a very high number,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Walensky said she was alarmed by some local governments rolling back restrictions on masks and social distancing just as more infectious variants of the virus are spreading. “We stand to completely lose the hard-earned ground we have gained,” she said.
29 out of 50 US states reported more new infections last week compared to the previous seven days, whereas only seven states in the prior week reported weekly increases.
New York had the highest number of new cases per 100,000 residents last week, followed by New Jersey and South Carolina.
At least 513,000 people have died from the virus in the United States, or about one in every 636 residents. The average number of COVID-19 patients in U.S. hospitals fell 15% to 52,000 last week, the lowest since early November.
According to government data 15% of the U.S. population has received at least one dose of a vaccine and 7.5% has received two doses.