US Covid hospitalizations fall to 16,700 hitting the lowest point of the pandemic so far

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The number of Americans being admitted into the hospital with Covid has reached a pandemic low, as the virus continues to recede in the United States and many are starting to move back to ‘normal’ life after two years dominated by it.

The Department of Health and Human Services reports that 16,760 Americans are hospitalized with Covid every day, setting a new pandemic low, an analysis by NBC finds.

This marker is reached after weeks of declining Covid cases and deaths coming off of the record Omicron surge that struck the U.S., and much of the world, during the winter months.

Combined with relatively high Covid vaccine and booster uptake among Americans, and the mild nature of the Omicron variant, the number of Americans needing more substantial treatment for Covid has sharply declined.

As of Friday, America is averaging 31,000 Covid cases every day, a rate that has stayed steady over the past two weeks. 

Deaths from the virus are cratering just as hospitalizations are, falling 21 percent over the past week to 704 per day. This is the lowest daily death total since August.

The number of Americans hospitalized with COVID-19 has reached the lowest point of the pandemic so far, an NBC analysis finds, with 16,760 people receiving treatment daily. This figure is likely inflated as many people who arrive at the hospital for treatment for another condition will test positive while present and be added to the total. Pictured: Medical workers prepare to treat Covid patients at a Veterans Affairs hospital in Boston, Massachusetts

The number of Americans hospitalized with COVID-19 has reached the lowest point of the pandemic so far, an NBC analysis finds, with 16,760 people receiving treatment daily. This figure is likely inflated as many people who arrive at the hospital for treatment for another condition will test positive while present and be added to the total. Pictured: Medical workers prepare to treat Covid patients at a Veterans Affairs hospital in Boston, Massachusetts

Covid hospitalizations are down nearly across the board in the U.S., with 49 of 50 states recording a decrease in patients admitted over the past two weeks. 

Connecticut, the lone outlier, has only recorded a three percent increase, and has a low rate of only four hospitalized patients for every 100,000 residents.

West Virginia and Delaware are the only states in America recording at least ten Covid hospitalizations every day per every 100,000 residents, which is still a low rate.

Actual figures could be even lower because hospitalizations are generally an unreliable metric. Studies have found that anywhere from 25 to 50 percent of recording COVID-19 hospitalizations are actually people who were receiving treatment for another condition but tested positive while present. 

The previous record low for hospitalizations was 16,808 in June, NBC reports. At the time, the U.S. was between Covid waves, with a devastating early 2021 surge completed and the Delta variant still having made little impact in America.

Once the Delta variant did arrive, and become the dominant strain, cases, hospitalizations, and deaths started to boom in the U.S., ending a relatively peaceful period during the pandemic where many believed it would soon come to an end.

There are early signs that the U.S. will not suffer the same fate this time around, though, and that recent lows recorded could decline even more over time.

The BA.2 ‘stealth’ variant was supposed to cause the next major outbreak in the U.S., just like it did across parts of Europe and Asia in recent months.

It is now dominant in the U.S., with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting earlier this week that it makes up 55 percent of sequenced cases in America.

Despite the variant’s quick growth, moving from making up less than five percent of cases to becoming dominant in a matter of weeks, it has failed to make much of an impact on case numbers.

Daily infections have hovered around the 30,000 mark throughout the second half of March, and now to start April. 

When the Delta variant started to rise in America, for comparison, it caused devastating surges across the Midwest before spreading nationwide and setting the country back in the fight against Covid.

‘We see almost nothing at all associated with the transition to BA.2 prevalence,’ Dr Jacob Lemieux, a instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School told the Harvard Gazette last month about the rising presence of BA.2 wand case numbers. 

The stealth variant, which earned the moniker from its ability to avoid detection through some sequencing methods, is believed to be the most infectious version of Covid yet – but is just as mild as the BA.1 version of Omicron that took over the world last last year.  

It first appeared in early 2022, and many feared it would cause massive surges across the world. While it did cause slight increases in cases in parts of Europe and Asia, it did not cause anywhere near as much damage as its predecessor. 

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