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Average of new U.S. coronavirus cases falls below delta peak

An empty bed in the intensive care unit of Saint Joseph hospital in London, Ky., on Nov. 30, 2021. (Jon Cherry/Bloomberg)

The seven-day average of new coronavirus infections in the United States has fallen to a number not seen since the delta surge of last summer began to die down, though cases remain higher than during much of the pandemic.

The country had an average of 153,029 cases per day as of Monday, according to tracking by The Washington Post. That’s lower than the highest seven-day average during the delta variant surge, the 165,187 recorded on Sept. 1. It is also a sharp decline from the pandemic high of 807,897 reached Jan. 22.

Although case counts are lower than in December and January, when the even more contagious omicron variant sent infections soaring, they remain elevated.

Deaths, which lag behind cases, also appear to be coming down from the highs of the omicron surge.

Here’s what to know

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Here's what to know:

President Biden’s nominee to head the Food and Drug Administration, Robert M. Califf, cleared a key procedural hurdle and will face a confirmation vote Tuesday. The agency has been without a permanent leader for more than a year.
Health officials in California say a school mask mandate will remain in place at least until the end of February, even as the requirement to wear face coverings indoors is set to be lifted Wednesday for other public venues.
Scientists are racing to develop a universal coronavirus vaccine that could be variant-proof. But many more scientific breakthroughs are needed before such a shot could be created, cautioned Anthony S. Fauci, the president’s chief medical adviser.

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Coronavirus: What you need to know

Vaccines: The CDC recommends that everyone age 5 and older get an updated covid booster shot. New federal data shows adults who received the updated shots cut their risk of being hospitalized with covid-19 by 50 percent. Here’s guidance on when you should get the omicron booster and how vaccine efficacy could be affected by your prior infections.

New covid variant: The XBB.1.5 variant is a highly transmissible descendant of omicron that is now estimated to cause about half of new infections in the country. We answered some frequently asked questions about the bivalent booster shots.

Guidance: CDC guidelines have been confusing — if you get covid, here’s how to tell when you’re no longer contagious. We’ve also created a guide to help you decide when to keep wearing face coverings.

Where do things stand? See the latest coronavirus numbers in the U.S. and across the world. In the U.S., pandemic trends have shifted and now White people are more likely to die from covid than Black people. Nearly nine out of 10 covid deaths are people over the age 65.

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