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Expand chart
Data: CSSE Johns Hopkins University; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Coronavirus infections in the U.S. are now at their lowest levels in seven months, thanks to the vaccines.

The big picture: The vaccines are turning the tide in America's battle with the coronavirus. Deaths and serious illnesses have dropped significantly, and now cases are falling too — an important piece of protection for the future, if we can keep it up.

By the numbers: The U.S. averaged about 48,000 new cases per day over the past week.

  • That’s a 13% improvement over the week before, and it’s the first time since October that average daily cases have dipped below 50,000.
  • 20 states saw fewer new cases over the past week than they did the week before, while outbreaks got bigger in 10 states.
  • New Jersey saw the biggest improvement over the past week, with a 40% drop in new cases, followed by Connecticut, at 30%.

Why it’s happening: Over half of all American adults have now gotten at least one shot of a vaccine, and 41% of adults are fully vaccinated.

Between the lines: It took a while for the U.S. vaccination drive to translate into a sustained decline in the number of new cases, and the virus is still surging worldwide.

  • Because the virus has already been able to spread so widely, it will likely stay in our lives for years to come, thanks to new variants that will continue to evolve.
  • Future variants may be deadlier, or more able to evade our existing vaccines. For now, though, the vaccines appear to be highly effective against nearly every common variant.

The bottom line: The vaccines are working. They are saving lives and beating back the virus right now, and they can minimize the virus’ presence in our lives in the future — if enough people get them.

Go deeper

Jun 11, 2021 - Health

G7 commits to sending 1 billion COVID vaccine doses to lower-income countries

Photo: Ludovic Marin/AFP via Getty Images

The Group of 7 wealthy nations on Friday pledged to deliver more than 1 billion doses of the coronavirus vaccine to lower-income countries beginning this summer.

Why it matters: The G7 countries have been criticized for not sharing vaccines with nations that have fewer resources and are struggling to contain new waves of the pandemic.

Jun 11, 2021 - Health

FDA clears 10 million J&J vaccine doses from contaminated Baltimore plant

Emergent BioSolutions ruined 15 million of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine doses back in March. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration said Friday that it's allowing for the release of two batches of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine made at the Emergent BioSolutions facility in Baltimore, where 100 million doses had been set aside for review after an accidental contamination.

Why it matters: The two authorized batches amount to approximately 10 million doses of J&J's single-shot vaccine, according to AP. The doses could end up being used in the U.S. or exported to other countries.

Jun 10, 2021 - World

Biden admin to ship millions of COVID vaccines around the world from August

President Biden arriving at Cornwall Airport Newquay in Cornwall, England, on Thurday. Photo: Phil Noble/WPA Pool/Getty Images

The Biden administration will ship the first batch of 500 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to 92 countries and the African Union from August, the White House announced Thursday morning.

Details: "200 million doses will be delivered by the end of this year and the remaining 300 million will be delivered in the first half of 2022," the White House said in a statement.