Eighteen states, mostly in the U.S. Midwest, reported sharply falling seven-day averages of new coronavirus infections compared with the prior week. Another 20 states, peppered across the country, saw case rates stay below 10%, which the Covid Tracking Project considers flat.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, using an ensemble of mathematical models, forecasts weekly cases will begin dropping in January. Yet public-health experts fear holiday travel could scuttle those projections.
Nationally, there were 189,783 cases on Tuesday, a 19% drop from the record broken last week. The decline helped pull the seven-day average down for the first time this month.
The numbers mark a reversal from earlier this fall, when at times almost the entire country saw case rates rising.
It’s far too early to say the U.S. has turned a corner. There are still significant hot spots — the steepest increases were in Tennessee, California and North Dakota. New York, where cases are near spring peaks and hospitalizations are surging, is preparing to enter shutdown for a second time. Epidemiologists caution that the behaviour of individuals and adherence to best practices can still radically alter the trajectory of the virus.
There have been at least 304,094 deaths attributed to the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University data.