The United States is seeing a steady decline in the number of new COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations.

Total confirmed coronavirus cases nationwide reported Saturday only slightly topped 100,000, a sharp downturn from around 800,850 five weeks ago, The Associated Press reported, citing data from Johns Hopkins University.

In New York state, for example, cases were down by more than half from the previous two weeks, the AP noted. 

At the same time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the seven-day average for COVID-19 hospitalizations was down to 80,185 for the week ending on Feb. 13 compared to 146,534 for the week ending on Jan. 20. 

More states are beginning to roll back mask mandates, distancing guidelines and other pandemic-related restrictions as the massive surge in cases over the winter, driven by the omicron variant, begins to die off. 

“There are two sides to omicron’s coin,” William Schaffner of Vanderbilt University’s School of Medicine told the AP of the recent downward trend in cases and hospitalizations. “The bad thing is that it can spread to a lot of people and make them mildly ill. The good thing is it can spread to a lot of people and make them mildly ill, because in doing so, it has created a lot of natural immunity.”

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