Senior citizens covid vaccine US
People wait outside the Hattie Holmes Senior Wellness Centre in Washington to get a coronavirus vaccine. Image Credit: AP

Washington: The pace of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. continued to ease as the country’s week-to-week average fell to its lowest in almost four months.

A top Biden administration health official warned Americans not to get complacent as the potentially more lethal variant first found in the U.K. spreads across the country.

California’s positive test rate fell to its lowest since November, and New York state’s hospitalizations, stuck among the nation’s highest, dropped by more than 1,000 over the last week. Ohio reported the fewest cases since October.

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear infections have declined for five straight weeks, which he said was the longest stretch since the start of the pandemic. “We are doing better and better,” he said in a video message. “So keep it up.” The state reported 10 deaths, the lowest since December. Kentucky has administered almost 650,000 vaccinations, according to the Bloomberg vaccine tracker.

The Biden administration should consider tailored solutions to get the vaccine into “underserved communities,” including mobile vans and grass-roots outreach to community groups instead of mass vaccination sites, former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said.

“I’d be marshaling federal resources toward that kind of a mission and letting Walmart work off the easy demand,” Gottlieb said Sunday on “Face the Nation.”

“People who can go online, register, drive to Dodger Stadium, wait in line, take a half a day off from work to get vaccinated - those are people who could be serviced by Walmart, CVS, Rite Aid.”

Steady decline

Ohio reported 1,809 cases, the fewest since October. Cases and hospitalizations have been on a steady decline for more than a month after Governor Mike DeWine imposed restrictions, including a recently-lifted curfew. Deaths remain at a plateau, and the state just completed logging more than 4,000 unreported fatalities. Total deaths are now 16,346.

Ohio has given 1.6 million vaccinations, just below the national average for all states, according the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker.

California’s 14-day positive test rate dropped to 4.6% yesterday, the lowest since Nov. 15, according to the health department’s website. The state also reported fewer new cases and fatalities than its 14-day rolling average. There were 8,842 new Covid-19 cases, below the average of 11,181, and 408 deaths, fewer than the 439 average. California has administered 5.98 million vaccinations to date.