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COVID Cases, Hospitalizations Keep Dropping in the US

Editor’s note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape’s Coronavirus Resource Center.

Statistically, things are looking up for the United States in the coronavirus pandemic.

The US reported about 72,000 new COVID-19 cases per day over the last week, a 58% decrease from the average daily case count of September 13, CNBC reported, citing data from Johns Hopkins University.

COVID-related hospitalizations have also dropped to a 7-day average of around 51,000 per day, less than half the number of hospitalizations in early September.

COVID-related deaths are down to around 1400 per day compared to 2100 per day on September 22, CNBC reported.

“Personally, I’m optimistic that this may be one of the last major surges, and the reason for that is because so many people have been vaccinated, and also because a lot of people have had COVID,” Arturo Casadevall, MD, chair of molecular microbiology and immunology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told CNBC. “We now have a lot of immunity in the population.”

But there are reasons to remain cautious.

The winter holidays are approaching. Since the coronavirus pandemic began, an uptick in cases has followed a national holiday. US COVID cases and deaths peaked after the 2020 holiday season, CNBC said.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has loosened up its holiday guidance compared to last year, saying Americans can safely celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve if they emphasize vaccination and masking. While cases are dropping in the US, they’re on the upswing in Europe. Pandemic trends in the US often follow those in Europe, as with the Delta variant.

The World Health Organization said cases went up last week by 18% in Europe, The Associated Press reported, while other WHO regions reported drops. Europe also reported a 14% increase in COVID-related deaths.

“A lot of times, what we see in Europe is sort of the harbinger of what we see in the US. And so it concerns me that cases there are on the rise,” Barbara Taylor, MD, an associate professor of infectious diseases at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, told CNBC.

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