Confirmed COVID-19 cases continue to fall in the United States as more Americans are vaccinated and the weather turns warmer in much of the country.
According to CNN and Johns Hopkins University, the seven-day average case number hit a level not seen in many months.
Official CDC numbers show a gradual decrease over the last several weeks after the sharp fall that began after cases peaked in January.
As cases continue their decline, hospitalizations and deaths are down accordingly. The country is averaging 647 deaths a day, the lowest number since last July, per CNN and Johns Hopkins.
Fears of a widespread COVID “fourth wave” are receding as more and more Americans become vaccinated. As of May 9, 58 percent of Americans over 18 had received at least one dose, with almost 44 percent fully vaccinated. (This number omits 16- to 18-year-olds, who are also eligible for the vaccine.) The FDA is on the brink of authorizing the Pfizer vaccine for use in 12- to 15-year-olds.
But challenges remain. The days of vaccine supply outstripping demand are in the rearview mirror. Several states have stopped ordering their full allocation of doses from the federal government, since there is so little demand for them — which speaks to the disparity in vaccination rates around the country. States like New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Hawaii have far higher vaccination rates than Mississippi, Alabama, and others.
Large pockets of unvaccinated people — even in states that boast high overall vaccination rates — could mean that, even with the majority of the country protected, localized COVID flare-ups may continue indefinitely.