U.S. Sees Record Single-Day Drop in Covid Hospitalizations
(Bloomberg) -- Covid-19 hospitalizations in the U.S. fell by the most ever on Thursday, the latest sign that relief may be coming to a health-care system that’s been fighting the virus for almost a year.
The number of people currently hospitalized with Covid dropped by 2,773 in a single day to 119,927, according to Covid Tracking Project data. The one-week drop of 9,020 was also a record, the data show. And the decrease is accelerating on a percentage basis.
The absolute number of people with Covid-19 in hospitals is still extraordinarily high: The virus remains dangerously prevalent in much of the country, and it’s still unclear how new variants will affect the arc of the pandemic. Deaths, a lagging indicator, are likely to continue mounting at a rapid pace for weeks to come.
That dissonance was apparent even in remarks from the new administration. In unveiling his strategy to fight the virus, President Joe Biden on Thursday warned that the death toll could eclipse 500,000 in the next month. Hours later, Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the virus “might actually be plateauing.”
It has ebbed and flowed over the past year, due in part to human behavior, weather and other factors that aren’t yet fully understood. On their own, the current improvements almost certainly couldn’t be sustained.
But the U.S. is also entering the second month of its vaccination push, with 18 million doses of the vaccine administered, or 5.62 people per 100, according to the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker. Fauci has estimated that the U.S. needs to vaccinate more than 70% of its people to return to a degree of normalcy.
The U.S. added 193,207 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, bringing the seven-day average to 188,626, the fewest since December, according to Johns Hopkins University data. There were more than 411,000 deaths as of early Friday.
According to Covid Tracking Project data:
- Only New York, Rhode Island and Vermont have seen current Covid-19 hospitalizations rise compared with a week ago, and they too appeared to be reaching a turning point. In New York, hospitalizations were up 2.6% from a week earlier, a significant slowdown from the November and December pace.
- Despite an improving trend, Arizona remained the worst state by hospitalizations and seven-day cases per capita.
- Virginia is the only state to report a single-day record in cases this week.
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