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June 29, 2022
Covid-19 Cases Rise To Nearly 110,000 Per Day As Millions Of Americans Travel For Memorial Day Weekend
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Covid-19 Cases Rise To Nearly 110,000 Per Day As Millions Of Americans Travel For Memorial Day Weekend

Topline
With the seven-day average of new Covid-19 cases in the U.S. ticking up to 109,643 per day as of Thursday—nearly five times higher than the average number of cases reported this time last year—health experts urged Americans to take precautions over Memorial Day weekend to prevent the spread of the disease, as millions of people were set to travel.

People wait to board trains at the Moynihan Train Hall in Manhattan at the start of the Memorial Day … [+] weekend on May 27, 2022, in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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Key Facts

More than half of the U.S. population is living in areas the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classifies as having medium or high levels of community transmission, including several counties categorized as high in states in the Northeast, as well as some counties in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, Montana, Hawaii and Alaska.

New hospital admissions are also rising throughout the country, with the seven-day average reaching 3,609 for the week ending Wednesday, up 24% from the week ending May 10.

However, the seven-day average of ICU beds currently occupied by Covid-19 patients stood at 3% of total capacity as of the week ending May 28, far below the 32% level during the peak of the winter omicron surge, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Big Number
39.2 million. That’s how many people are expected to travel this weekend, according to the American Automobile Association, up 8.3% from 2021.

Key Background
Health experts across the country urged people to take precautions to protect themselves and others over the holiday weekend, but many Americans have reported less concern over the virus in recent months. Only 35% of respondents to an April Gallup poll said they were worried about contracting Covid-19—down from 49% in February. More than half of respondents to a Monmouth University poll conducted earlier this month said they were not too concerned or not at all concerned with coronavirus. Several cities have been reluctant to reimplement measures to reduce the spread of the virus, and the CDC itself loosened its mask guidelines in February, moving to only recommend masks in areas with high levels of severe cases.

Crucial Quote
“The country has moved so far to, ‘I’m only concerned about me,’” Gabe Kelen, chair of the emergency medicine department at Johns Hopkins University, told the Washington Post. “I get it that people are willing to take a personal risk, but it is not a personal risk.” Kelen added many older and immunocompromised people “can’t fully participate in society” because others “are not willing to do the right thing.”

Further Reading
U.S. Covid-19 Cases Top 7-Day Average Of 100,000 For First Time Since February (Forbes)

Memorial Day Weekend Is Likely to See Americans Travel, Despite COVID-19 (The New York Times)

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