(Reuters) - The United States reported a 12% decline in new cases of COVID-19 last week, while vaccinations accelerated to a record 2.2 million shots per day, according to a Reuters analysis of state, county and CDC data.
New infections have dropped for eight weeks in a row, averaging 60,000 new cases per day for the week ended March 7. Deaths linked to COVID-19 fell 18% last week to 11,800, the lowest since late November and averaging 1,686 per day.
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Despite the positive trends, health officials have warned that the country could see a resurgence in cases as more infectious variants of the virus have been found in nearly every state.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert, has urged the nation to keep most pandemic restrictions in place until new cases fall to under 10,000 per day.
Thirteen out of 50 states reported more new infections last week compared with the previous seven days, down from 29 states in the prior week, according to the Reuters analysis. New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island had the highest rates of new infections per 100,000 residents.
As of Sunday, 18% of the U.S. population has received at least one dose of a vaccine and 9% has received two doses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The country administered an average of 2.2 million shots per day last week, up from 1.6 million shots in the prior week.
The average number of COVID-19 patients in U.S. hospitals fell 16% to 44,000 last week, the lowest since late October, according to a Reuters tally.
Cumulatively, over 525,000 people have died from the virus in the United States, or one in every 621 residents.
Graphic by Chris Canipe, writing by Lisa Shumaker, editing by Tiffany Wu
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