U.S. COVID-19 deaths fall 22% last week, daily vaccinations set record

FILE PHOTO: Dr. John Thayer holds up a sign to signal his station needs more vaccine doses in a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination site at Lumen Field Event Center in Seattle, Washington, U.S. March 13, 2021. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson

(Reuters) - The United States reported a 22% decline in deaths from COVID-19 last week, while vaccinations accelerated to a record 2.4 million shots per day, according to a Reuters analysis of state, county and CDC data.

As of Sunday, 21% of the U.S. population has received at least one dose of a vaccine, up from 18% a week ago. About 11% has received two doses, up from 9%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

(Open in an external browser to see state-by-state details.)

The number of new COVID-19 cases being reported each week has dropped for nine straight weeks, falling 10% to just under 378,000 in the seven days ended March 14. Deaths linked to COVID-19 dropped below 10,000 last week, the lowest since mid-November.

However, health authorities warned Americans not to lower their guard, pointing to a resurgence in infections in several European countries after they relaxed social distancing measures.

“These should be warning signs for all of us. (U.S.) cases climbed last spring, they climbed again in the summer, they will climb now if we stop taking precautions,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky on Monday.

Air travel on Friday hit its highest level since the pandemic started, she said, as warmer weather prompted many people to go on spring break.

Nineteen out of 50 states reported more new infections last week compared with the previous seven days, up from 13 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.

The average number of COVID-19 patients in U.S. hospitals fell 13% to 38,000, the lowest since late October, according to a Reuters tally.

Graphic by Chris Canipe, writing by Lisa Shumaker, editing by Tiffany Wu