• New COVID-19 cases remained at about 67,000 per day over the past week.
  • Experts are concerned a new rise in cases could begin due to relaxed restrictions, more infectious virus variants, and large social gatherings.
  • Vaccinations are beginning to help ease the pandemic, but experts say the public still needs to adhere to safety protocols.

Editor’s note: This story will be updated regularly as new statistics are released.

The number of new COVID-19 cases in the United States appears to have plateaued amid concerns from experts that we could enter another surge if safety protocols are not followed.

According to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average number of new U.S. cases was about 67,000 per day this past week.

Overall, the number of new COVID-19 cases in the last week fell 0.4 percent nationwide. It’s the first time in 5 weeks that case numbers have decreased.

The number of COVID-19 deaths dropped by about 3 percent.

The average number of daily COVID-19 vaccinations nationwide stayed at 3.1 million, despite the pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Overall, the United States has confirmed more than 31.7 million COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began.

Hospitalizations now stand at 36,600, about 2,000 fewer than a week ago.

COVID-19-related deaths in the United States have now surpassed 568,000.

The warmer weather throughout much of the nation is allowing people to venture into the safer confines of the outdoors, but it can also encourage people to congregate together.

“It is hard to predict, but gathering outside continues to be the safer option,” Dr. Jamila Taylor, director of healthcare reform and a senior fellow at The Century Foundation, told Healthline.

“However, cases are on the upward trajectory, and that is certainly cause for concern. We all need to remain vigilant: continuing to wear masks, wash our hands, and distance when in doors. This sets us up to be healthy for when we do have the chance to engage in gatherings outside with friends and family,” she said.

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, also has a cautionary approach.

“The virus and vaccines are in a race and it is not clear which will win,” he told Healthline. “If many people — especially younger adults — do not accept the vaccine, the virus will continue to spread despite the pleasant weather.”

State numbers

This past week, 22 states reported increases in COVID-19 cases compared with 33 states the prior week.

The CDC reported that Michigan once again had the most new cases in the past 7 days with 48,459. That’s 2,500 fewer than the previous week.

Florida was second with 43,963 new cases this past week, about 4,000 more than the previous week.

Pennsylvania was third with 35,041 new cases, about 4,000 more than the previous week.

New Jersey was fourth with 25,363 new cases, about the same as the previous week.

New York was fifth with 23,255 cases, about 3,000 fewer than the previous week.

Texas and California, the two most populous states, reported 20,801 and 16,601 cases, respectively, this past week.

The CDC also reported that Michigan had by far the highest rate of cases with 485 cases per 100,000 residents over the past 7 days. That’s about 25 fewer than the previous week.

New Jersey was second with 285 cases per 100,000 residents, followed by Pennsylvania at 273 cases per 100,000 residents and Delaware with 265 cases per 100,000 residents.

There were 23 states that reported an increase this past week in COVID-19 deaths, compared with 21 the previous week.

California recorded the most COVID-19 deaths over the past 7 days with 550, a decrease of more than 150 from the previous week.

Florida was second with 418 reported deaths, followed by Texas with 400 and Pennsylvania with 283.CORONAVIRUS UPDATESStay on top of the COVID-19 pandemic

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Where we are with vaccines

The CDC reports there have been 212 million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered across the country.

More than 132 million people have received at least one dose. That’s more than half of the adult population in the country. More than 85 million people are fully vaccinated.

California has administered the most doses at more than 26 million. That’s followed by Texas with 16 million.

Both Florida and New York have administered more than 13 million doses.

None of those states, however, are in the top 5 in terms of doses administered per 100,000 people:

This week, the White House announced that people 16 years of age and older are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations in all 50 states.

Taylor and Schaffner both see this as a positive step, but they warn there are dangers lurking ahead.

“[The eligibility] is a major advancement in efforts to ensure that all Americans get vaccinated,” Taylor said. “We are at a critical juncture in the pandemic, and it is my hope that we not only ensure eligibility but also access, especially for underserved and hard-to-reach populations.”

“It is very important that all adults in the U.S. now are eligible for vaccination,” added Schaffner, “but many adults are hesitant or disinclined to get vaccinated. This includes younger adults and persons living in rural areas. Vaccine supplies now exceed demand in many areas. Eligibility for vaccination does not prevent COVID. Vaccination is necessary to prevent COVID.”

It was also announced this week that the pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine could be lifted as early as this Friday, April 23.

Schaffner said he thinks any vaccine hesitancy created by the pause should fade if the news later this week is positive.

“If, as I hope, the pause on J&J vaccine is lifted on Friday, there should be little long-term impact on vaccine hesitancy,” he said.

“The J&J vaccine is very popular because it requires only a single dose — ‘one and done’ — and also because it can be managed at conventional refrigerator temperatures, allowing it to be used to provide access to hard-to-reach populations.

“However, if the CDC’s advisory committee puts substantial constraints on the use of the vaccine going forward, that will dampen the enthusiasm for the vaccine,” Schaffner said.

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