Feb 17, 2022 - Health

COVID cases plummet all across the U.S.

Change in reported COVID-19 cases per 100k people in the last two weeks
Data: N.Y. Times; Cartogram: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

COVID cases are plummeting across the U.S., in some places even falling to relatively manageable levels. But deaths remain stubbornly high.

The big picture: States and cities of all political stripes are removing mask and vaccine mandates as the Omicron variant loses steam, though in some regions there's still a ways to go before the virus is truly under control.

By the numbers: Nationwide, the U.S. is now averaging roughly 140,000 new COVID cases per day — a 64% drop over the past two weeks. The pace of new infections is declining in every state.

But there's a difference between a declining number of cases and a small number of cases.

  • Some regions of the U.S. have achieved both: COVID cases have fallen all the way down to levels that experts consider at least relatively safe.
  • New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are all averaging fewer than 25 new cases per 100,000 people per day. So is Washington, D.C., and Maryland is doing even better, at just 12 cases per day for every 100,000 residents.
  • Much of the U.S., however, isn't quite there yet. In Alaska, for example, new cases are dropping significantly, but the state is still averaging 100 cases per 100,000 people, the highest rate in the country.

What we're watching: Omicron is clearly on its way out, and the overall situation in the U.S. is getting much better. But unvaccinated Americans remain at risk for serious illness and death.

  • The virus is killing more than 2,300 Americans per day, on average. That's a 13% improvement over the past two weeks, but still adds up to a significant amount of preventable death and suffering.
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