US coronavirus cases rise 8% in two weeks as more states ease restrictions

While the United States’ Covid-19 vaccination initiative has eclipsed that of many other countries, a significant number of US cities and states remain hotspots where coronavirus continues to spread at record rates. The upticks come as more states loosen public health restrictions that have been in place to stop Covid-19’s spread.

As of 16 April, the US saw an average of 70,117 cases daily, a surge of 8% from the mean 14 days ago, with hospitalizations increasing 9%, according to the New York Times. A minimum of 21 states have seen at least a 10% increase in daily positive coronavirus cases, CNN reports of recent Johns Hopkins University data. However, deaths are down 12% in this period.

The US state of Michigan saw 8,955 new Covid-19 cases as of Friday, marking “the second highest single-day case total in Michigan since the start of the pandemic”, ClickOnDetroit reports. Michigan has now seen 779,777 confirmed Covid-19 cases, with 16,771 deaths, and leads the US in new infections.

Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan’s governor, had enacted some of the nation’s strongest Covid-19 restrictions in March 2020, which also seemed to work when the US saw a second wave last fall. However, Whitmer is not taking the same approach during this most recent wave, and is mostly relying on the vaccination initiative and a voluntary pause on in-person dining.

Coronavirus infections, and hospitalizations, are also increasing in Maryland. While the statewide uptick is less than in mid-January, Baltimore City is now “emerging as a Covid hotspot”– seeing case levels that hadn’t been recorded since winter holiday-related upticks, the Baltimore Sun reports.

And on the west coast, Washington governor Jay Inslee warned Thursday that the state was poised for a potential fourth wave of coronavirus – with new cases now reaching more than 1,000 daily, up from 700 per day in February, according to the Associated Press. Officials have decided to ramp up restrictions in three hard-struck counties, limiting indoor dining, retail, and gym capacity from 50% to 25%.

The US has had more Covid-19 cases and deaths than any other country: 31,575,640 confirmed infections and 566,224 fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University data. At least 202,282,923 doses of coronavirus vaccine have been administered; 72,813,391 have been fully vaccinated – 22% of the US population, Johns Hopkins said.

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