As vaccines continue to be slowly distributed across the nation, the level of new COVID-19 cases in the United States hit a plateau over the 2-week Christmas holiday break.
However, experts say the country should expect another surge in mid-January due to holiday gatherings as well as the number of people who traveled during the break. On Sunday, airports nationwide processed 1.3 million passengers, the highest since mid-March.
The New York Times reports the daily average of new COVID-19 cases this past week was 214,270, about the same as it was 2 weeks ago.
The new average includes the 198,181 new cases reported on January 4.
Overall, the United States has now confirmed more than 21 million COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began.
Hospitalizations have now topped 125,000.
U.S. COVID-19-related deaths now exceed 356,000. That includes the 2,048 deaths recorded on January 4.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) predicts the United States will top 560,000 deaths by April 1 if current conditions continue.
The New York Times daily tracking graph shows 37 states where “new cases are higher and staying high.”
There are 12 states where cases are “higher but going down.”
There is one state, Hawaii, that is listed as “lower and staying low.”
A weekly tracking graph by Reuters that was updated on January 4 reports that there were nearly 1.5 million new COVID-19 cases this past week as well as more than 18,000 deaths.
The case numbers were up 16 percent from last week. Both case numbers and deaths were similar to where they were two weeks ago.
The rate of positive test results nationwide was slightly more than 13 percent this past week, up from 10 percent the previous week. The World Health Organization (WHO) considers a level above 5 percent to be “concerning.”
Iowa had the highest rate at 64 percent. It was followed by Idaho at 56 percent and Alabama at 47 percent.
Reuters reports there were 44 states where new COVID-19 cases rose this past week.
In terms of percentage, South Carolina showed the largest increase among states for newly confirmed cases. The state recorded 32,777 new positive tests, a hike of 111 percent.
Kansas was second with an increase of 95 percent with 18,056 new cases.
Connecticut was third with a hike of 74 percent to 17,377 new cases.
Louisiana was fourth with 21,366 new cases, a jump of 57 percent.
Arizona was fifth with 62,047 new cases, a hike of 52 percent.
In terms of sheer numbers, California remains on top with its nearly 247,519 new cases, a decrease of almost 5 percent from its record-breaking previous week.
The new case numbers include the 45,352 new positive tests reported in California on Sunday.
Texas is still second with 121,287 new positive tests, an increase of 22 percent from the previous week.
New York is third with its more than 95,028 new cases, a jump of 28 percent from the previous week.
Florida is fourth with 93,457 new cases, an increase of 32 percent.
Arizona is fifth with its 62,000 cases.
Reuters reports the number of people in the hospital with COVID-19 nationwide has risen 25 percent in the past month.
California remains the highest among states with hospitalizations. On January 5, the state had 21,128 people in the hospital for COVID-19. That’s almost 5,000 more than reported two weeks ago.
Officials report that California hospitals are being overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.
The situation has reached the point where ambulance drivers in Los Angeles County have been told not to transport people to the hospital if they are unlikely to survive.
Texas is second among states with 12,961 people hospitalized, about 3,000 more than two weeks ago.
New York is third with 8,251 people in the hospital, about 2,000 more than two weeks ago.
Florida is fourth with 7,239 people hospitalized with COVID-19, about 2,000 more than 2 weeks ago.
Pennsylvania is in fifth place with 5,630 hospitalizations, about 400 fewer than two weeks ago.
There are 19 states above the 2,000 mark.
Reuters reports there were more than 78,000 COVID-related deaths reported nationwide in December, the highest monthly total since the pandemic began.
The New York Times lists 11 states where deaths have risen in the past 2 weeks.
The Reuters graph lists 35 states where deaths have increased from the previous week.
Washington had the highest percentage increase among states at 243 percent with 275 deaths.
Wyoming was second with a 195 percent increase for a total of 65 deaths, according to Reuters.
Kansas was third with 372 deaths, a 124 percent hike.
South Carolina was fourth with an increase of 82 percent with 345 deaths.
It was followed by New Mexico with an increase of 62 percent for a total of 235 deaths.
In terms of sheer numbers, California recorded the most deaths with 2,299, an increase of 47 percent from the previous week.
Texas was second with 1,420 deaths this past week, an increase of 21 percent.
Pennsylvania followed with 1,282 deaths, an increase of 19 percent.
New York was fourth with 1,004 deaths, a decrease of more than 1 percent.
Illinois was fifth with 986 deaths, a jump of 6 percent.