Covid-19 cases are rising and hospitalizations have plateaued in the U.S. even as the country set a new record for coronavirus vaccine doses administered in one day on Saturday.
The U.S. on Friday saw a seven-day average of 61,359 new Covid-19 cases per day, a 12% increase over the last week, according to a CNBC analysis of Johns Hopkins University data.
Daily coronavirus hospital admissions dropped steadily from January through February, but now hospitalizations are leveling off. The country saw a seven-day average of 4,790 Covid-19 hospital admissions on Thursday, a 2.6% compared with one week prior, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.
“I remain deeply concerned about this trajectory,” CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said during a White House news briefing Friday. “We have seen cases and hospital admissions move from historic declines to stagnations and increases. We know from prior surges that if we don’t control things now, there is a real potential for the epidemic curve to soar again.”
The rising cases and stagnating hospitalizations come as more and more Americans get vaccinated. More than 3.4 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine were administered on Saturday, according to tallies recorded by the CDC. Saturday’s total broke the previous record for most Covid-19 vaccine shots given in one day set on Friday with 3.37 million doses reported.
The pace of vaccination is rapidly increasing with a seven-day average on Saturday of more than 2.6 million shots administered daily. More than 140 million Covid vaccine doses have been administered in the U.S. as of Saturday, according to the CDC.
The push for increased vaccinations come as highly infectious and potentially more deadly variants of the virus continue to spread in the U.S. White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci on March 19 said the coronavirus variant first identified in the U.K. likely accounts for 30% of Covid infections in the U.S.
New strains are a particular concern for public health officials as they could become more resistant to antibody treatments and vaccines. Still, the World Health Organization in February said Covid-19 vaccines have proven effective in preventing severe illness and death in those who do become infected.
Covid-related deaths in the U.S. have been declining. The U.S. experienced a seven-day average of 992 new daily coronavirus-related deaths on Friday, a 14% decline compared with a week ago, according to a CNBC analysis of Johns Hopkins data.