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Coronavirus cases decline in US, but experts urge caution




The average number of daily new coronavirus cases in the United States fell below 100,000 on Friday for the first time in months, according to an NBC News tally, but experts warn infections remain high across the country and that Americans must continue to follow precautions to slow the spread of the virus.

Over the past 14 days, according to data compiled by NBC News, coronavirus cases have declined to varying degrees in all 50 states, as well as Washington, DC, Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands.

Ten states and Puerto Rico saw a slight drop between 10 and 25 percent. Forty states, plus the District and the Northern Mariana Islands, saw a more significant drop of 25% or more, according to the data.

California, which has been hit hard by Covid-19 in recent weeks, has seen a particularly dramatic drop of around 48% in the past 14 days.

The encouraging trend lines are reflected in the national average of daily new cases. The seven-day average of cases fell to 99,052 at the end of Friday, a significant drop from even a month ago, when the United States averaged 239,284 cases per day.

The seven-day average of new infections rose above 200,000 for much of December and climbed to around 250,000 in January, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Another potentially encouraging sign, the United States recorded 779 deaths on Sunday night, the first time since November 29 that less than 1,000 people in the country have died from the coronavirus in a single day. It should be noted, however, that single day numbers are not good indicators of actual trends.

Meanwhile, public health experts and senior government officials have warned that the coronavirus remains a threat and that precautions must remain in place.

“We’re still at around 100,000 cases a day. We’re still around 1,500 to 3,500 deaths a day. The cases are more than two and a half times what we’ve seen over the summer,” Dr Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” show on Sunday.

“It’s encouraging to see these trends diminish, but they come from an extraordinarily high place,” she added.

Walensky said new variants, including one first detected in the UK which appears to be more transmissible and which has already been found in more than 30 states, will likely lead to more cases and more deaths.

It all really comes down to the fact that we can’t let our guard down, Walensky said. We must continue to wear masks. We must continue with our current mitigation measures. And we must continue to get vaccinated as soon as this vaccine becomes available to us.

In total, the United States has recorded more than 27.7 million cases of coronavirus and more than 487.00 deaths.

Daniel Arkin

The Associated Press contributed.

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