Mar 3, 2022 - Health

COVID cases continue steep decline in U.S.

Change in reported COVID-19 cases per 100k people in the last two weeks
Data: N.Y. Times; Note: Case counts in Idaho, Maine and Washington may be affected by ongoing data anomalies; Cartogram: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

COVID case rates continued a steep decline over the last two weeks with the seven-day rolling average dropping to roughly 59,000 cases a day.

The big picture: These falling case rates prompted the CDC in the last week to loosen its mask guidance, recommending universal masking for less than a third of the U.S. population. The White House is also taking steps to bring back the federal workforce and otherwise promote a return to some form of pre-COVID normal.

By the numbers: Nationwide, the U.S. is averaging roughly 18 cases per 100,000 people over two weeks.

  • The lowest case rates were seen in Nebraska with six cases per 100,000 people, followed by Delaware and Maryland, which had nine cases per 100,000, respectively.
  • Meanwhile, Montana and Alaska had the highest rates at 49 cases per 100,000 people and 47 cases per 100,000, respectively. Idaho, Maine and Washington are not included in this because each has data anomalies this week.
  • Kentucky saw the greatest drop, to 38 cases per 100,000 people, down from 114 cases per 100,000 just a few weeks ago.
  • The only state where cases rose over the last two weeks was Nevada, which averaged 26 cases per 100,000, up from 23 cases per 100,000 a few weeks ago.

Yes but: Deaths nationwide dropped 18% from a seven-day rolling average of more than 2,300 per day. But they still average roughly 1,900 per day.

What we're watching: As with last week, the latest numbers indicate a cause for optimism as Americans return to more normal activities. But that comes with a caveat that it only takes one bad variant to reverse this progress.

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