Pace of US COVID Infections May Be Slowing, But Still Rising

Ralph Ellis

August 27, 2021

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New COVID-19 infections in the United States appear to be increasing at a slower rate than in previous weeks.

New cases increased by 11% over the last week, compared to about 30% two weeks ago, CNBC said, citing data from Johns Hopkins University. The number of new cases is still very high, averaging around 152,000 per day, a rate not seen since last January, CNBC said.

One state reporting a new-case slowdown is Louisiana, which has been reeling under the Delta variant surge. Louisiana recently recorded a 7-day average of about 4,700 new daily cases, down 10% from the previous week and 20% from the peak of 5,800 new daily cases 10 days ago, CNBC said.

"I don't know if we'd say we know whether or not we've peaked, but we sure are grateful for the small downtick in cases," Alyson Neel, a spokeswoman for the Louisiana Department of Health, told CNBC.

Some health experts think the Delta variant may have peaked in the United States, as it did in India and the United Kingdom.

Bruce Farber, MD, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Northwell Health in Manhasset, NY, told CNBC that the slowdown in new cases may be linked to the high number of people in the U.S. who have been vaccinated or previously infected. 

"All outbreaks have these peaks, and then as the percent of the population both gets infected as well as vaccinated — and it can be a combination of those things — you run out of fuel," he said. "And in this case, the fuel is unvaccinated and uninfected people."

The slower pace of new cases is not completely reflected nationwide in COVID deaths and hospitalizations. There's often a lag of a couple of weeks between a person becoming infected and needing hospitalization or urgent care, CNBC noted.

The average daily death count was more than 1,100 on Wednesday, up 39% from a week ago, CNBC reported. Many of those deaths occurred in Florida, Texas, and Georgia. Louisiana reported 139 COVID deaths on Aug. 24, the state's highest single-day total since the pandemic began, according to Johns Hopkins data.

Hospitalizations attributed to COVID are slowing slightly. An average of more than 12,200 people in the U.S. were hospitalized each day for the week ending Aug. 23, CNBC said, citing CDC data. That's an increase of 6.6% over the previous week, a smaller rise than previous weeks.


CNBC. "U.S. Covid cases show signs of slowing, even as fatalities surge again."


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