Story at a glance
- The U.S. recorded a record low of new COVID-19 cases over the last week.
- This comes as roughly 35 percent of Americans have been fully vaccinated.
- States and cities are beginning to lift public health restrictions.
New COVID-19 infections in the U.S. have fallen for the fourth consecutive week, falling by 17 percent last week to just less than 290,000, the lowest weekly count since September, a new Reuters analysis confirms.
Other national data echoes this trend, with the latest two-week average down by nearly 30 percent, with other indicators like hospitalizations and deaths declining as well.
This progress has coincided with further vaccine expansion; data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that almost 262 million vaccines have been administered, with 34.8 percent of the population being fully vaccinated, and almost half having received one dose.
Public health experts forecast a continued decline of new cases.
"I expect during the month of May we will see daily cases drop dramatically and deaths finally drop to quite low numbers," Jonathan Reiner, professor of medicine and surgery at George Washington University, told CNN.
Reiner added that the summer of 2021 stands to be the most normal in relation to life before the pandemic.
This comes as more states and jurisdictions begin to reopen. Cities like New York and Washington, D.C., are aiming to completely reopen in the early weeks of summer.
Some experts, such as Anthony Fauci, have encouraged areas to lift public health restrictions as more Americans get vaccinated.
“We do need to start being more liberal as we get more people vaccinated," he said on Meet The Press on Sunday.
Riding a wave of public approval mainly due to his pandemic response, President Biden set a new lofty goal of vaccinating 70 percent of American adults by July 4 — 70 percent is around when herd immunity is expected to occur.
As of now, 58.2 percent of the population over 18 years old in the U.S. have received at least one vaccination. And 44.3 percent are fully vaccinated.