The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

New coronavirus cases falling, but current levels still higher than spring, summer

President Biden makes his way to his vehicle in the snow after attending Mass at St. Joseph on the Brandywine Roman Catholic Church in Wilmington, Del., on Sunday. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)
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The punishing winter surge of coronavirus cases is showing signs of relenting. On Sunday, the United States recorded fewer than 100,000 new infections, the first time in months that the closely watched daily tally fell below that threshold. The number of new cases has been declining steadily for about four weeks, yet even the lowest recent levels far exceed the virus spikes of the spring and summer.

The country reported about 96,600 new infections Sunday, according to Washington Post tracking, 20,000 more than the pre-October record — a sobering reminder of the pandemic’s ongoing devastation. And experts fear new, more contagious virus variants could reverse gains made over the last month.

Here are some significant developments:

  • House Democrats proposed sending full $1,400 stimulus payments to Americans who earn up to $75,000 a year, rejecting plans to limit eligibility for the checks.
  • President Biden’s CDC director told The Post that some of the agency’s coronavirus guidelines were “politically swayed” under the Trump administration and that they are being updated.
  • South Africa will suspend use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine after researchers found it provided “minimal protection” against infections caused by the new variant first detected in that country.
  • Anthony S. Fauci predicted that vaccine supplies would improve by March, with increased doses of approved vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna and a new vaccine candidate from Johnson & Johnson.
  • Rep. Ron Wright (R-Tex.) has died after a battle with covid-19. In a statement, Wright’s office said the 67-year-old lawmaker, who had also been battling cancer, will be “remembered as a constitutional conservative.”

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