The average number of new COVID-19 cases reported in the U.S. over the past week has fallen below 50,000. The last time the new-case average was that low was October 7, 2020.
Only 29,536 new cases were reported on Saturday, May 2, a new low not seen since September 2020. Meanwhile, hospitalizations and deaths have also dropped.
Vaccines Drop Off, Too
But cases are not the only thing dropping. A few months ago, not long after the vaccine program rolled out, the U.S. celebrated when it hit the milestone of giving 1 million shots per day. Before long, that doubled to 2 million. The daily total of vaccinations peaked at 3.4 million on April 13.
It doesn’t look like we are going to be hitting 4 million. As people decline to get shots, some states are declining deliveries of new vaccines, claiming there is not sufficient demand. Last week, for example, they gave only half as many shots in Iowa as they did at the peak. You could say that everyone who wants a vaccine has had it
. This lack of willingness to get the vaccine is called “vaccine hesitancy,” but “vaccine refusal” might be a more accurate term.
Medical professionals claim that more education and outreach is needed, but I doubt that will do much good. Think how many people skip the flu shot, me included. Many of them are going to pass on the COVID-19 vaccine as well. And if new cases keep dropping, who can blame them?
Cases Skyrocket in India
While cases drop in the U.S., India continues to set new daily records, surpassing 400,000 cases in a single day, more than the U.S. reported this past week. Worse yet, many cases and deaths and deaths in India are thought to go unreported.
The government is getting most of the blame for refusing to issue another lockdown order after 2020’s shutdown severely disrupted the country.
Hospitals in India run out of oxygen and other supplies as their healthcare infrastructure proves insufficient to the task. Many countries, including the U.S., are providing emergency medical assistance, drugs and oxygen to India.
Maybe we should send some of those unwanted vaccines to India.
Here’s a look at how the 20 countries with the largest cumulative total number of reported cases fared in the past week:
Of the 20 countries with the highest number of COVID-19 cases, India was the only one who saw an increase in its rate of case growth. For the first time in weeks, all the European countries on the above table saw their numbers decline. It appears that their new lockdowns are getting the job done. Now they just have to boost the rollout of vaccines.
Despite lowering its rate of case growth from 8.5 percent to 5.3 percent, Turkey overtook Russia this week to land in the fifth spot among countries with the most reported cases of COVID-19.
Italy, one country hit hardest in the initial outbreak in early 2020, topped 4 million cases. Argentina passed the 3 million mark. It looks like Columbia may join her in next week’s report.
For some perspective, take a look at how this chart looked last week, a month ago, or at COVID-19 news from a year ago when reopening the U.S. after the first wave dominated the news.