New Covid-19 cases continue to fall in the United States, but more than 90% of counties – home to more than 319 million people – still have “high” or “substantial” community transmission, according to thresholds set by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A community is considered by the CDC to have “high” transmission if there have been 100 or more new cases per 100,000 people over the past seven days or if the test positivity rate is 10% or higher. A community is considered to have “substantial” transmission with at least 50 new cases per 100,000 people over the past week or a test positivity rate of 8% or higher.
“We still have 75,000 cases (per day) in this country, and I am very encouraged to watch these trends coming down. But as you know, we have still over 90% of our counties that are in substantial or high community transmission,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said at a news briefing Friday.
About two-thirds of the US population – more than 221 million people – live in a county with “high” transmission, and another 30% – about 98 million people – live in a county with “substantial” transmission, according to a CNN analysis of federal data.
At the state level, seven states are considered to have “substantial” transmission – California, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi and New Jersey – while all others are considered to have “high” transmission, CDC data shows.
In those areas with “high” or “substantial” transmission, current CDC guidance recommends universal masking in all public indoor spaces and other layered prevention strategies.
In response to a question about whether the CDC will update recommendations for fully vaccinated people as trends in community spread change, Walensky said “we’re watching that very carefully.”
“As we watch the community levels come down, we will update our recommendations,” she said. “It’s important to note that as we look at the current situation, we are also heading into respiratory virus season. During that season, we know respiratory viruses tend to thrive, and so we’re taking all of those into consideration.”