For the first time since June of last year, there are fewer than 30,000 new daily coronavirus cases in the United States, and deaths are as low as they’ve been since last summer. In much of the country, the virus outlook is improving.
Nearly 50 percent of Americans have received at least one vaccine shot, and though the pace has slowed, the share is still growing by about two percentage points per week.
“I think by June, we’re probably going to be at one infection per 100,000 people per day, which is a very low level,” Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former head of the Food and Drug Administration, said Sunday on the CBS program “Face the Nation.” The U.S. rate is now eight cases per 100,000, down from 22 during the most recent peak, when new cases averaged about 71,000 on April 14.
The share of coronavirus tests coming back positive has also fallen to below 3 percent for the first time since widespread testing began, and the number of hospitalized patients has fallen to the lowest point in 11 months, Dr. Eric Topol of the Scripps Research Translational Institute noted this week.
The United States is reporting about 25,700 coronavirus cases daily, a 39 percent decrease from two weeks ago, according to a New York Times database. Deaths are down 14 percent over the same period, to an average of 578 per day.
Thirty-nine percent of Americans are fully vaccinated. But the U.S. vaccination story varies widely across regions, with New England surging ahead of the national average and much of the South lagging significantly.
In five of the six New England states, more than 60 percent of residents are at least partly vaccinated, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s a different story in the South, where Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee have the country’s lowest rates of residents who have received at least one shot. The rates in those states are all below 40 percent, with Mississippi, at 33 percent, at the bottom of the list.
The virus remains dangerous in communities with low vaccination rates, and getting vaccines into these communities is crucial in continuing to curb the spread. As the virus continues to mutate, vaccines may need to be updated or boosters may need to be added.
Since the C.D.C. issued guidance that said vaccinated people could forgo masks in most situations indoors and outside, states have followed suit.
But cases remain relatively high in a handful of states, including Wyoming, which has reported a 21 percent increase in new daily cases from two weeks ago.
And some cities, like Colorado Springs and Grand Rapids, Mich., are continuing to report high case counts. In Miami, cases have decreased over the past week, but the share of coronavirus tests coming back positive is relatively high, at about 8 percent.
Testing has fallen around the country, fueling concern that cases could be undercounted in places with high positivity rates, like Miami, if people who don’t have symptoms aren’t getting diagnosed.
Although health experts who spoke with The New York Times said that they were optimistic, they cautioned that the virus won’t be eradicated in the United States but would likely instead become a manageable threat, like influenza.
And the longer it takes to vaccinate people, the more time that the virus has to spread, mutate and possibly change enough to evade vaccines.
“My big concern is that there is going to be a variant that’s going to outsmart the vaccine,” said Dr. Thomas A. LaVeist, an expert on health equity and dean of the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine at Tulane University in New Orleans. “Then we’ll have a new problem. We’ll have to revaccinate.”
James Gorman contributed reporting.
Over the past year, multiple stimulus measures from the federal government have helped American families buy groceries, pay rent and build a financial cushion. The aid may have also helped start a new era of entrepreneurship.
There has been a surge in start-ups in the United States a that experts have yet to fully explain. But a new study, using data that allows researchers to more precisely track new businesses across time and place, finds that the surge coincides with federal stimulus, and is strongest in Black communities.
Across a number of states, the pace of weekly business registrations more than doubled in the months after the CARES Act was signed in March 2020. Business registrations rose again by 60 percent around the time the supplementary aid package was signed in December.
And after the third wave of stimulus in March, weekly business registrations have been up by 20 percent, though the data is less complete.
The pandemic may signal the end of a slump in entrepreneurship that has lasted for several decades. Steep job losses, a widespread shift in how people work and a big influx of federal spending could prompt the kind of disruption that changes how people think about work and what they want to do with their lives.
The nearly half a million undocumented immigrants who live in New York City were devastated by the pandemic, stricken by the virus and the economic fallout it caused and ineligible for stimulus checks and the unemployment benefits that kept many New Yorkers afloat.
Undocumented women were hit particularly hard, a recent estimate by the Fiscal Policy Institute found. Many had low-wage jobs in the service sector. Some were suddenly obligated to stay home with children when schools closed.
Roughly 35,000 undocumented women in New York City had too little food to eat this past March.
After months of demonstrations by groups that support immigrants, New York state lawmakers approved a budget that includes a $2.1 billion excluded-workers fund for people who are ineligible for other pandemic aid because they are undocumented. It is the largest package of its kind in the country.
The Times took a deep look at Isabel Galán, who lives in the South Bronx with her three children. In the year after the pandemic shut down the economy of one of the world’s richest and most expensive cities, Ms. Galán and her children have lived on $100 a week.