Biden's first 30 days have helped to turn around America's dire COVID-19 issues, as cases, hospitalizations, and death rates are all down significantly from their post-New Year's peaks as vaccinations are ramping up.
Covid-19 hospitalizations in the United States are at the lowest level since early November, when a fall surge in cases and deaths was picking up steam, data showed Saturday.
This comes as federal officials say they're pushing large shipments of vaccines to states this weekend, in part to make up for a backlog from winter storms -- and as public health experts push for faster inoculations before more-transmissible coronavirus variants get a better foothold.
About 59,800 Covid-19 patients were in US hospitals on Friday -- down about 55% from a pandemic peak of more than 132,470 on January 6, according to The COVID Tracking Project.
Friday's number is the first below 60,000 since November 9, when daily cases, hospitalizations and deaths were on a several-month incline through the holidays.
Averages for daily new cases and deaths also have been declining for weeks after hitting all-time peaks around mid-January. Public health experts have been pressing for faster vaccinations, before more transmissible variants have a chance to spread, fearing they could reverse recent progress.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said an apparently more-transmissible variant first identified in the United Kingdom could be the dominant strain in the US by next month.
"This is why we're telling people to not stop masking, not stop avoiding indoor social gatherings quite yet, because we don't really know what's going to happen with this variant," Dr. Megan Ranney, and emergency medicine physician with Rhode Island's Brown University, told CNN Saturday.
"And we saw what happened last winter when we didn't take Covid seriously enough."
The national test positivity rate -- or the percentage of tests taken that turn out to be positive -- averaged about 4.8% over the last week as of early Saturday, according to The COVID Tracking Project.
That's the first time the average has dropped below 5% since October, and it's far below a winter peak of about 13.6% near the start of January.
The World Health Organization has recommended governments not reopen until the test positivity rate is 5% or lower for at least two weeks.
That's the good news. The bad news is that we still have a long way to go. We're still well above the March and July peaks of the pandemic, we're still recording a half-million new cases a week, and we're still seeing 2,000 people a day die from the virus in America. There's a light at the end of the tunnel, but slacking off on masks and social distancing created the last three surges in cases, and my real fear is that Americans will ignore masking and we'll find ourselves in a fourth spike later this spring.
The numbers are getting better, but it will be months before we can get this under control still, and that depends largely on the UK strain and any other strains that could get loose in the country and reinfect.
Stay safe, stay masked, stay home.