COVID-19 HOSPITALIZATIONS HIT LOWEST LEVEL
COVID-19 hospitalizations in the U.S. are at the lowest level since early November, when a fall surge in cases and deaths was picking up steam, data showed Saturday, according to KCRA 3 News.
This comes as federal officials say they're pushing large shipments of vaccines to states this weekend, in part to make up for a backlog from winter storms — and as public health experts push for faster inoculations before more-transmissible coronavirus variants get a better foothold.
About 59,800 COVID-19 patients were in U.S. hospitals on Friday — down about 55% from a pandemic peak of more than 132,470 on Jan. 6, according to The COVID Tracking Project.
Friday's number is the first below 60,000 since Nov. 9, when daily cases, hospitalizations and deaths were on a several-month incline through the holidays.
Averages for daily new cases and deaths also have been declining for weeks after hitting all-time peaks around mid-January.
Public health experts have been pressing for faster vaccinations, before more transmissible variants have a chance to spread, fearing they could reverse recent progress.
The CDC has said an apparently more-transmissible variant first identified in the U.K. could be the dominant strain in the U.S. by next month.
"This is why we're telling people to not stop masking, not stop avoiding indoor social gatherings quite yet, because we don't really know what's going to happen with this variant," Dr. Megan Ranney, and emergency medicine physician with Rhode Island's Brown University, told CNN Saturday.
"And we saw what happened last winter when we didn't take COVID seriously enough."