(CNN) — The United States just recorded a seven-day average of fewer than 20,000 new daily cases of covid-19 for the first time since March 2020.
The daily average of new cases fell to around 17,248 as of Monday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. However, that number may be less than reality, as some cases over the weekend and Memorial Day holiday may not yet have been reported.
Still, it is an astonishing milestone that comes after more than a year of loss and suffering across the country and the world. And it’s worth pausing to acknowledge both that devastation and the progress America has made.
In March of last year, the number of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations began to increase rapidly, and deaths followed. At least 80% of the country’s population had orders to stay at home.
That was the first of several crushing waves. More than 33 million Americans have been infected with the coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University, and more than 594,000 have died; both figures are probably not sufficient to calculate the true number of victims of the pandemic.
But now, the United States is heading in the right direction, thanks to a powerful ally in the battle against the pandemic: covid-19 vaccines.
“Cases, hospitalizations and deaths are decreasing due to the millions of people who have stepped up and done their part to protect their health and the health of their communities to get us out of this pandemic,” said the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Rochelle Walensky, in a recent briefing at the White House.
On Tuesday, New York reported its lowest positivity rate since the start of the pandemic, said Mayor Bill de Blasio, attributing the milestone to vaccinations and the “willpower of New Yorkers.”
“This is … other clear evidence that New York City is coming back strong,” said the Mayor. “We are going to get the covid out of New York City once and for all.”
More than 50% of the U.S. population has received at least one dose of the covid-19 vaccine, data from the CDC, and more than 40% of the country is fully vaccinated.
Governors across the country have eased covid-19 restrictions, and nearly every state that had a mask-wearing mandate has now lifted it. But the pandemic is certainly not over.
The US can lower its COVID-19 numbers and help prevent COVID-19 outbreaks by vaccinating more Americans.
But vaccination rates across the country are uneven. Some communities lag far behind others, in some cases due to constant hesitancy, while in others they are due to access issues. And vaccines are available only to those 12 and older.
“We all have more work to do,” Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, senior adviser to the White House Covid-19 Response Team, said recently. “We have to continue to make sure that everyone who answers ‘yes’ does not face barriers to vaccination.”
Moderna Seeks Full FDA Approval for Its Emergency Licensed Vaccine
While new cases of covid-19 continue to decline as more Americans are vaccinated, Moderna said Tuesday it is seeking full approval for its vaccine from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Since December, Moderna’s two-dose vaccine has been distributed under an FDA emergency use authorization for Americans 18 years of age and older.
On April 13, the company announced that its vaccine remained more than 90% effective six months later, the follow-up time required to request FDA approval.
Moderna is the second company to seek such approval in the U.S. On May 7, Pfizer announced that it was starting its own app for people 16 and older, following an April 1 announcement that its clinical trials showed a efficiency greater than 91% after six months.
Experts say they expect the vaccine’s protection to last well over six months, which will be confirmed as more data comes in.
Moderna said it will continue to send test data “continuously for the next several weeks with a priority review request.” A priority review asks the FDA to take action within six months, compared to the 10 months designated in the standard review.
Both Pfizer and Moderna are also studying their vaccines in children as young as 6 months. Last month, the FDA granted Pfizer’s vaccine an emergency use authorization for children ages 12 to 15.
Full FDA approval could motivate some Americans who are hesitant to vaccinate to roll up their sleeves, according to research published Friday by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
But in practical terms for the public, there isn’t a big difference between emergency use authorization and full FDA approval, said Dr. Paul Offit, a member of the FDA’s Advisory Committee on Vaccines and Related Biologics.
“Frankly, the only real difference was in the length of follow-up” for efficacy, Offit said.
Both Moderna and Pfizer’s vaccines have been shown to be extremely safe in both clinical and real-world trials, he said. Throughout the history of vaccines, he said, serious side effects have occurred within two months of inoculation.
“The effectiveness and efficacy data in Phase 3 trials and now in the real world … is excellent,” said Offit.
The US has the fewest number of cases in children in months
The United States also reported the lowest number of new weekly COVID-19 cases among children since the beginning of October, with about 34,500 new cases of children reported last week, the US said. American Academy of Pediatrics on a Tuesday report.
As of May 27, nearly 4 million children had tested positive for the virus since the start of the pandemic.
Children made up between 6% and 19.6% of those who were tested for COVID-19, depending on the states that reported figures, and between 5.2% and 34.6% of children tested gave positive for the virus, depending on the state.
“At this time, it still appears that severe illness due to COVID-19 is rare among children,” the report said. “However, there is an urgent need to collect more data on the long-term impacts of the pandemic on children, including the ways in which the virus can harm the long-term physical health of infected children, as well as its emotional effects. and mental health ».
CNN’s Michael Nedelman, Jen Christensen, Laura Ly, Rebekah Riess, Naomi Thomas, Sahar Akbarzai, Pete Muntean, and Greg Wallace contributed to this report.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism