US coronavirus cases at lowest levels since June

Posted at 3:39 PM, May 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-22 18:39:32-04

NEW YORK — New coronavirus cases in the U.S. have decreased to rates not seen since June.

It’s sparking optimism that vaccination campaigns are stemming both severe COVID-19 cases and the spread of the virus.

The seven-day average for new cases dropped below 30,000 per day this week. CDC director Rochelle Walensky says cases haven’t been this low since June 18.

The average number of deaths over the last seven days also dropped to 552, a rate not seen since July.

Health experts credit the rollout of vaccines to a dramatic turnaround since January. But they also caution that not enough Americans have been vaccinated to completely extinguish the virus. President Joe Biden is trying to convince people to sign up for shots by reminding them that vaccines offer a return to normal life.

More than 60% of people over 18 have received at least one shot, and almost half are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC. Alabama’s vaccination rate — 34% of people have received at least one dose — is one of the lowest in the country. Health experts are concerned some areas with low vaccination rates, such as a swath of Southern states, could give rise to new virus variants that may be more resistant to vaccinations.