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Expand chart
Data: JHU; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. is averaging fewer than 50,000 new coronavirus cases per day for the first time in over five months.

Why it matters: The downward trend comes after reaching a high in January and amid the U.S. vaccination campaign, but health officials warn people to remain vigilant about social distancing and masking.

By the numbers: The U.S. seven-day average peaked at nearly 250,000 cases per day in January but has steadily declined since to the current average of 49,908 cases per day, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

  • U.S. hospitalizations have dropped to 42,262, according to the New York Times, declining 33% over the past two weeks.
  • Deaths in the country decreased 20% in the past two weeks, dropping to about 1,650 deaths per day.

For the record: The last time the U.S. was down to 50,000 new cases per day was in mid-October.

  • The U.S. has confirmed a total of 29,099,393 cases since the pandemic started, per Johns Hopkins University.

What they're saying: "All this is good news," said Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, during a briefing Wednesday.

  • But she emphasized that "our actions this week represent a first step, not our final destination."
  • Walensky said the U.S. is at a "critical point in this pandemic and on the cusp of having enough vaccines to protect every adult" in the country.
  • "We ask for your patience in practicing prudent prevention measures for just a while longer," she added.

Go deeper

Updated 12 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Omicron is finally burning out — It's very difficult to get access to antiviral COVID treatments — Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Navy discharges 45 sailors for refusing vaccine — Spotify to remove Neil Young's music after his Joe Rogan ultimatum — New York Supreme Court grants stay for indoor mask mandate.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker
22 mins ago - World

U.S. and Iran "in the ballpark" of a nuclear deal, Biden adviser says

Brett McGurk. Photo: Paul Morigi/Getty Images

White House Middle East coordinator Brett McGurk says the U.S. and Iran "are in the ballpark of a possible deal" to return to the 2015 nuclear agreement, but he “doesn’t want to put odds on it."

Why it matters: That's the most optimistic statement from the Biden administration since the nuclear talks resumed in Vienna last December. McGurk, who was speaking at a Carnegie Endowment event, didn’t explain the reasoning behind his assessment.

House Democrats introduce resolution to ratify ERA to U.S. Constitution

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.). Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) on Thursday introduced a resolution to recognize that the Equal Rights Amendment has met all legal requirements to be considered the 28th constitutional amendment.

Why it matters: If the resolution passes in both Congress chambers, the ERA would be officially added to the constitution and would guarantee legal gender equality under the Constitution.