Speed Reads

the coronavirus crisis

The U.S. has crushed the COVID-19 pandemic back to October levels

Globally, the COVID-19 pandemic is as bad as it has ever been, with a seven-day average of more than 800,000 new cases and 13,000 deaths a day reported. But in the U.S., the "number of reported infections dropped to its lowest point in seven months" on Tuesday, The Washington Post reports. For the first time in 208 days, the daily average of new infections in the U.S. dropped below 50,000. And the last time the average death toll was as low as now, about 725 deaths a day, was in October.

Public health experts attribute America's declining numbers to the relatively high vaccination rate, but warn that if new variants take root before enough people are vaccinated, the numbers will start rising again. About 56 percent of U.S. adults have gotten at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot, and more than 106 million Americans are fully vaccinated. President Biden on Tuesday set a new goal of 70 percent of U.S. adults being at least partly vaccinated by July 4. "I'd like to get it 100 percent, but I think realistically we can get to that place between now and July Fourth," he said.

"The U.S. is currently administering first doses at a rate of about 965,000 per day — half the rate of three weeks ago, but almost twice as fast as needed to meet Biden’s target," The Associated Press reports. The Biden administration also announced Tuesday it is changing how it allocates vaccines among states, allowing states with higher demand to order vaccines left unused by states where vaccine demand is low.