U.S. new COVID cases fall for third straight week, hospitalizations down

FILE PHOTO: Carol Saivetz, 73 of Chestnut Hill receives the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination from Rachel Damstra, a nursing student at Curry College at a mass COVID-19 vaccination site being set up at Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox baseball team, in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. January 29, 2021. REUTERS/Faith Ninivaggi

(Reuters) – New cases of COVID-19 in the United States fell for a third week in a row, the first time the country has seen such an extended decline since last September, though more than a million people are still being infected every week.

New cases in the seven days ended Jan. 31 fell 9% from the previous week to 1.1 million, with only four out of 50 states reporting rises, namely Louisiana, Washington, Pennsylvania and Montana, according to a Reuters analysis of state and county reports.

(Open tmsnrt.rs/2WTOZDR in an external browser to see a related graphic)

Deaths from the virus rose 5% last week to 22,751, or an average of 3,250 people each day. January was the deadliest month of the pandemic so far in the United States, with nearly 96,000 lives lost.

Deaths are a lagging indicator, meaning they can increase weeks after cases and hospitalizations fall.

Cumulatively, nearly 442,000 people have died from the novel coronavirus, or one in every 740 U.S. residents.

The average number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals fell 13% from the previous week to about 103,000, according to a Reuters analysis of data from the volunteer-run COVID Tracking Project.

Nationally, 8.7% of tests of tests came back positive for the virus, down from 9.2% the prior week and the lowest since the week ended Nov. 8, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project. The lowest positive test rates were in Hawaii at 1.5% and Wyoming at 1.7%, and the highest were Alabama at 34.1% and Iowa at 33.7%.

Graphic: GRAPHIC-COVID-19 global tracker: here

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