The number of coronavirus cases in the United States have the hit the lowest point since March 2020, when the pandemic began.
As of Wednesday, the average number of daily cases was 16,860, NBC News reported. At the peak of the pandemic, during the 2020-2021 winter surge, the average number of daily cases was more than 300,000.
New cases have declined in 43 states and stayed steady in the other 7, Axios reported. New cases have fallen by 30% since last week.
Officials have credited the country’s vigorous vaccination program for the steady decline in cases, and expressed confidence that there will be no surge over the summer, even as states roll back virtually all restrictions. More than half of all eligible Americans are fully vaccinated.
“We expect the summer to be relatively quiet from the combination of the high rates of vaccination, a certain amount of immunity from infection, and seasonality,” said Bill Hanage, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. However, he warned smaller outbreaks were possible in areas that have lower vaccination rates, such as the southern states and rural communities.
“Even if 90 percent of the people in the community are vaccinated, if the 10 percent who are not all hang out together, and the virus is introduced to them, a large proportion of them could become infected,” Hanage told NBC News.