Pandemic retreat signals vaccines are working

By | May 3, 2021

COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the United States are declining, a sign that the vaccination campaign is succeeding and the spring surge has ended.

In the past two weeks, new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. have dropped from a seven-day average of 78,449 to 51,465, a decline of 34%. New hospitalizations have also fallen 34%, from 3,165 to 2,083.

Over 55% of adults have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 39% have been fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“With 100 million Americans fully vaccinated as of today, we continue to move ahead in our progress to end this pandemic,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said Friday.

“I think we can confidently say the worst is behind us, barring some crazy unforeseen variant that none of us are expecting to see,” Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, recently told ABC News.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, recently said people should expect cases to drop as the U.S. increases its vaccination levels.


“When you get to somewhere between 40% and 50%, I believe you’re going to start seeing real change — the start of a precipitous drop in cases,” Fauci told the Wall Street Journal. “When you do, that’s when people are going to be able to start doing things that they’ve been craving.”

On Tuesday, the CDC updated its guidance to say that fully vaccinated adults can go outdoors without a mask as long as they avoid large gatherings with little risk of catching the coronavirus.

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In March and into early April, the U.S. was experiencing another increase in COVID-19 cases, likely driven by the more infectious coronavirus variant from the United Kingdom. Studies have shown that vaccines fare well against that variant.

Many of the states that were hit hard by the surge have seen dramatic declines in cases. Michigan, which was the hardest hit, has seen new cases fall from a seven-day average of 7,863 on April 14 to 4,508 on April 29, a drop of 34%.

States in the Northeast also experienced sharp increases in cases during the surge. Recently, they have seen steep declines from their peaks. New York saw the biggest drop in new cases, declining 63%. Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Jersey have all experienced drops in news cases, ranging from 33% to 51%.


The decline comes as the rate of vaccinations has slowed. Daily vaccination reached a seven-day average peak of more than 3.3 million over two weeks ago. That has dropped to just over 2.5 million as of Friday.