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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 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Pelosi appoints GOP Rep. Kinzinger to Jan. 6 committee

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced Sunday that she has appointed Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) to serve on the House select committee investigating the Jan 6. Capitol riot.

Why it matters: Pelosi's announcement comes after she rejected two of the five Republican appointments offered by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

USCP chief: Officers testifying before Jan. 6 committee "need to be heard"

Thomas Manger, the new chief of the U.S. Capitol Police, Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

New Capitol Police chief Tom Manger said officers testifying before the Jan. 6 select committee this week "need to be heard."

Driving the news: The select committee's first hearing is set to take place on Tuesday and will feature testimony from law enforcement officers who were subject to some of the worst of violence during the insurrection.

Mike Allen, author of AM
5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

America's "Friendscape" crisis

New research shows Americans have fewer friends than in the past, and are less likely to have a best friend.

  • Why it matters: At a time of excruciating mental and societal stress, this is another sign we're breaking apart. And the friendship drought could get worse with more people working remotely or hybrid-ly.