Apr 21, 2022 - Health

COVID cases on the rise in Mid-Atlantic, Pacific Northwest

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

A new line of Omicron could be putting most of the U.S. in the path of a sustained bump in COVID-19 cases, with the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Pacific Northwest accounting for much of the spread.

The big picture: This rise is largely attributed to the Omicron subvariant BA.2, which still accounts for about 75% of all new cases.

But about 20% of new cases have been attributed to another offshoot of Omicron known as BA.2.12.1, the CDC reported this week.

  • The rise comes as the federal transportation mask mandate — one of the last big federal pandemic restrictions — was suddenly struck down this week by a federal judge.

By the numbers: New COVID cases rose nationwide by about 35% over the last two weeks.

  • However, at roughly 39,000 new cases, they are still a fraction of what was seen back in January when the U.S. was averaging almost 760,000 new cases per day.
  • The data shows Vermont has the highest case rate at 41.7 new cases per 100,000 people, while the reported case rate is lowest in South Dakota at two new cases per 100,000 people.
  • Overall, deaths dropped to roughly 400 a day, down 32% from nearly 600 a day two weeks ago.

Reality check: The data regarding new cases are getting less reliable as the public testing infrastructure continues to wind down — more quickly in some states than in others — and home tests results are less likely to be reported to officials.

  • Officials have also shifted their focus to using wastewater surveillance and tracking hospitalizations and deaths from this virus.

The bottom line: The data still offers some sense of what's happening with the virus as individuals return to their pre-pandemic ways while still trying to mitigate their risk.

  • While cases are still much lower than they have been, the rising numbers bear watching.
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