The coronavirus pandemic continues to recede in America — as the average number of new cases and deaths plummeted to levels not seen in around a year.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Sunday that the rolling seven-day average of daily new coronavirus cases had dropped to 24,315 nationwide. The last time the average was that low was on June 15 of last year, when the CDC reported a seven-day average of 23,304 new cases.
In addition, the percentage of positive coronavirus tests nationwide came in below 3 percent on Monday, May 17 for the first time since the CDC started keeping records in March of last year. The number stayed below 3 percent for the remainder of the work week.
Deaths appear to be declining at a slower rate, but the rolling seven-day average of deaths per day has hovered around 500 since May 15 and dipped below that number on May 19 and 20. That last time that happened, according to the CDC data, was on March 31 of last year.
The strain placed on America’s health care system by the coronavirus appears to be ending as well. For the week ending Friday, the CDC reported a seven-day average of 3,198 news hospitalizations, down more than 15 percent from the previous week and down more than 80 percent from the peak in early January.
Sunday marked 10 days since the CDC announced that fully vaccinated Americans could go without masks in most indoor and outdoor settings — and the declining coronavirus numbers, along with steady progress in vaccinations, have experts optimistic that the trend will continue.
“I think we’re still seeing a lot of cases per day … and cases may not fall much below 10,000 because we’re doing a lot of testing around the country,” former Food and Drug Administration Administrator Scott Gottlieb told CBS News’ “Face The Nation” Sunday.
“But the bottom line is that the people who are getting infected now tend to be people who are younger or less vulnerable to the infection because a lot of the vulnerable population has been vaccinated. About 85 percent of those above the age of 65 have now been vaccinated.”
“I think by June, we’re probably going to be at one infection per 100,000 people per day, which is a very low level,” Gottlieb added.
According to the CDC, more than 158 million American adults have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, more than 61 percent of that population. More than 128 million American adults — 49.6 percent — are considered fully vaccinated.
The Biden administration is expected to announce this week that half of all American adults have been fully vaccinated against the virus.