New COVID cases fall by 25%
New coronavirus infections in the U.S. fell by 25% over the past two weeks — another hopeful sign that the worst of the Delta wave may be behind us.
By the numbers: The U.S. is now averaging roughly 114,000 new cases per day. That's still a lot, but it's a significant improvement from this summer, when the Delta variant unleashed a new wave of infections, hospitalizations and death.
- Deaths are still on the rise nationwide, because of that summer surge. They're up 4% over the past two weeks, to an average of 2,000 per day.
- If the decline in cases keeps going, deaths should begin to come down relatively soon. Deaths are the last number to increase when a new wave hits, and the last number to decrease when it subsides.
Details: Alaska experienced the country's biggest COVID spike over the past two weeks, and is now averaging more cases per capita than any other state.
- Tennessee saw the biggest improvement over the past two weeks, while Connecticut has the lowest absolute number of cases per capita, at just 14 per 100,000 people.
What's next: Holiday travel and more indoor socializing as the weather gets colder will likely contribute to scattered localized outbreaks throughout the winter. And those outbreaks could always become serious strains on hospitals, especially in areas with low vaccination rates.
- But experts are cautiously optimistic that Delta may have peaked and the U.S. may finally be headed toward getting the virus under control, and keeping it there, for the first time in 18 months.