Daily COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations have each declined by about 30% since late August, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
As of Sept. 27, the country was logging a seven-day moving average of 110,232 new daily cases, down 30.9% from 159,515 on Aug. 27, whereas new COVID-related hospitalization dropped 31% from 12,330 to 8,507 over the same time period.
Dr. Gregory Poland, infectious disease expert and director of the Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group, anticipates that as COVID-19 case rates fall, fewer Americans will take precautions against infection, resulting in a potential surge of respiratory illnesses come winter.
“We will further ignore it and not wear masks at all, not take any precautions at all, travel again,” Poland told Fox News. “And that in and of itself will cause yet another surge of COVID, of influenza and of RSV [respiratory syncytial virus, a common respiratory virus] this winter.”
“It’s a very difficult task to convince a population that emotionally doesn’t want to hear it, and yet are risking their very lives,” Poland said.
Despite declining rates of cases and hospitalizations nationwide, Idaho continues to grapple under a surge, logging record-high hospitalizations in recent days, a five-fold increase in pediatric hospital patients by summer’s end over June, per a report, and limited space left at some funeral homes and trailers to store bodies. The state is tied with one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country with about 41% of residents fully vaccinated.
Idaho public health leaders announced earlier this month that they activated “crisis standards of care” allowing health care rationing for the state’s northern hospitals owing to more coronavirus patients than the institutions could handle. The move allowed hospitals to allot scarce resources like intensive care unit rooms to patients most likely to survive and make other dramatic changes to the way they treat patients.
Data from Johns Hopkins University suggest new daily infections are concentrated across some Southern states like Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Arizona, while pointing to a rise in infections in Iowa and Massachusetts in particular.
Data indicate Texas’ seven-day average of infections are declining, though the figure exceeds 10,000, while Louisiana had a seven-day average of over 1,000 cases, down from nearly 5,800 in mid-August, per data from Johns Hopkins University. Related figures for Oklahoma and Arizona exceed 1,400 and 2,300, respectively. Data also indicate Iowa is exceeding a seven-day average of 2,000 new daily infections while Massachusetts is tied with a figure near 1,500.
Over 75% of Americans over age 12 have received at least one dose of vaccine, with 65% fully vaccinated. The Biden administration said Tuesday more than 400,000 Americans received COVID-19 booster shots over the weekend just at pharmacies alone, and another million have signed up to get the extra jab after it was approved for seniors and high-risk people last week.
The Associated Press and Fox News’ Breck Dumas contributed to this report.