The good news on the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 keeps coming, as the weekly average for new daily cases, deaths and hospitalizations in the U.S. all fell to the lowest levels in more than a year, while vaccinations keep increasing.
There were 22,260 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, according to a New York Times tracker, up from a holiday-influenced 5,602 recorded new cases on Monday. But the average of cases over the past seven days fell to 17,119 from 17,196 on Monday, and has dropped 45% from two weeks ago to mark the lowest reading since March 26, 2020.
There were 519 new deaths on Tuesday, but the seven-day U.S. average fell to 356, the lowest reading since March 29, 2020. Data on hospitalizations were incomplete for Tuesday, but Monday’s seven-day average of 25,411 was the lowest since March 31, 2020.
There are 46 states showing a declining weekly trend in cases, and only one state — California — showed a rising trend, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University. That compares with 42 states showing a declining weekly trend last week, when three states showed an increasing trend.
On the vaccination front, 135,867,425 people in the U.S. have been vaccinated, or 40.9% of the total population, according to data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Included in the total are 133,581,245 people at least 18 years old, or 51.7% of the adult population, and 40,942,074 people who are at least 65 years old, or 74.9% of that age group.
In the U.S., being fully vaccinated means it has been two weeks since the second of the two-dose vaccines developed by Pfizer Inc. PFE, +0.79% and its Germany-based partner BioNTech SE BNTX, +5.35% or Moderna Inc. MRNA, +3.28% have been administered, or it’s been two weeks since receiving one dose of Johnson & Johnson’s JNJ, +0.48% vaccine.
There are 69.8 million people fully vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, CDC data show, while 55.3 million people have been fully vaccinated with the Moderna vaccine and 10.7 million people with the J&J vaccine.
The U.S. has by far the most people fully vaccinated worldwide, as second-place India has 43,550,558 people fully vaccinated and the United Kingdom is third with 25,734,719, according to JHU data. However, the U.S. is seventh by percentage of population fully vaccinated, behind the first-place Seychelles at 65.6%. India is 81st with 3.2% of its population fully vaccinated, and the U.K. is 11th at 38.5%.
On a bright note, the U.K. recorded no new deaths on Wednesday, for the first time since the pandemic was declared in March 2020. The U.K. still leads Europe in total deaths with 28,045.
Moderna announced a deal Wednesday with Unicef to supply 34 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine in the fourth quarter, and up to 466 million doses in 2022.
Separately, the National Institutes of Health said it plans to test booster shots from different vaccines in a fully vaccinated population, as part of a “mix and match” Phase 1/2 trial.
The participants will receive a booster of Moderna’s vaccine 12 to 20 weeks after finishing their initial vaccine regimen, as MarketWatch’s Jaimy Lee reported. “We need to prepare for the possibility of needing booster shots to counter waning immunity and to keep pace with an evolving virus,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which is funding the study.
Meanwhile, Israel’s Ministry of Health said there is “some probability for a possible link” between the second dose of a vaccine, reportedly from Pfizer-BioNTech, and inflammation of the heart muscle, or myocarditis. The government study said 275 cases of myocarditis were reported between December 2020 and May 2021, of which 148 cases occurred around the time of vaccination. Within 30 days from the day of the second dose, there were 121 cases of myocarditis out of a total of 5,049,424 people vaccinated.
The report said the “phenomenon” was mostly reported among men ages 16 to 19, usually after the second dose, and 95% were considered to be mild cases.
The global tally for the coronavirus-borne illness climbed to 171.27 million on Wednesday while the death toll rose to 3,567,234, according to JHU data.
The U.S. leads the world in total cases with 33.29 million and deaths with 595,302.
India continues to get closer to the U.S., with 28.31 million cases, but is third with 335,102 deaths.
Brazil is second in deaths at 465,199, and third in cases with 16.62 million.
The U.K. is fourth in deaths worldwide, and leads Europe, at 28,045, while France leads Europe in cases with 5.74 million.
China, where the virus was first discovered late in 2019, has had 103,045 confirmed cases and 4,846 deaths, according to its official numbers, which are widely held to be massively underreported.