COVID-19 cases are overall dropping in the United States but some regions are still experiencing spikes, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to the CDC data, the 7-day moving average of cases stands around 716,000. That’s down from 797,000 from more than a week ago.
However, COVID-related deaths are trending upward with the 7-day moving average hovering just below 2,000. That’s an increase from 1,100 in late December.
Scientists are seeing signals that COVID-19′s alarming omicron wave may have peaked in Britain and is about to do the same in the U.S. The reason: The variant has proved so wildly contagious that it may already be running out of people to infect, just a month and a half after it was first detected in South Africa.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, said he was "as confident as you can be" that states will hit their highest point of infections in February to ABC News’ "This Week." However, he noted cases should start dropping off after that, as seen in other countries, but that the virus is still unpredictable.
"You never want to be overconfident when you're dealing with this virus," he said. "Things are looking good. We don't want to get overconfident, but they look like they're going in the right direction right now."
Nationwide, infection rates fell week-over-week in 19 states, with the Northeast, which had seen the biggest numbers of new cases, now seeing a 40 percent drop. Cases are still rising slightly in the Midwest and South, but the pace has slowed down.
COVID-19 cases dropping in the Northeast
According to FOX 5 New York, the state reported fewer than 28,000 new COVID cases Saturday, with a positivity rate of 9.2 percent, the lowest since December 19, and the second day in a row the state's positivity rate dropped below 10 percent.
The CDC is also reporting a drop in cases in other northern states including Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut and Rhode Island.
In Connecticut, doctors at the two largest health care systems say they believe the latest wave of the COVID-19 pandemic may have peaked in the state.
COVID-19 cases rising in the Midwest, South
It’s a different picture for some midwestern and southern states where COVID-19 cases continue to rise.
The COVID-19 omicron variant has yet to peak in Wisconsin, the state’s chief medical officer said last week. Hopefully, the state is at or near the peak even though the data does not yet show it, said Dr. Ryan Westergaard during a conference call.
The state’s seven-day average number of new cases hit another new high, at 18,836, while hospitalizations statewide were down by 115 over the past seven days.
Alabama public schools reported more than 26,000 cases of COVID-19 last week, and the outbreaks have prompted some of the state’s largest systems to make a temporary switch to remote learning.
Meanwhile, Florida has seen a sharp drop in COVID-19 cases, according to the CDC. The state’s 7-day moving average is just about 37,000. That’s a decrease from 65,000 that was reported earlier in the month.
Parts of West are waiting for the latest COVID-19 peak
Oregon health officials predict the number of COVID-19 cases will reach its peak within the week amid a boom caused by the omicron surge. The Oregon Health Authority reported 10,947 new coronavirus cases on Friday - a new record. Prior to omicron, the highest single-day case tally in Oregon was 3,207 new cases in August 2021.
Dr. Dean Sidelinger, the state epidemiologist, said Friday the omicron variant is fueling "steadily rising hospitalizations, record shattering daily cases and staggering test positivity rates. This is distressing for all of us."
COVID-19 cases in Arizona and California have slightly dipped, according to CDC data, suggesting the states may have seen their peaks.
To prevent another wave, the Los Angeles Unified School District said it will prohibit students from wearing cloth masks as the highly transmissible omicron variant of COVID-19 continues to spread. Starting Monday, students must wear "well-fitted, non-cloth masks with a nose wire" at all times, including outdoors, the district announced.
White House, states continue to push COVID-19 testing
The Biden administration last week quietly launched its website for Americans to request free at-home COVID-19 tests, a day before the site was scheduled to officially go online.
The website, COVIDTests.gov, now includes a link for "every home in the U.S." to access an order form run by the U.S. Postal Service. People can order four at-home tests per residential address, to be delivered by the Postal Service. It marks the latest step by President Joe Biden to address criticism of low inventory and long lines for testing during a nationwide surge in COVID-19 cases due to the omicron variant.
The White House also announced that it will begin making 400 million N95 masks available for free at pharmacies and community health centers.
South Carolina’s public health agency plans to start handing out thousands of free coronavirus tests kits for residents to use at home. The state Department of Health and Environmental Control says it has about 140,000 at-home rapid antigen tests that it will begin distributing Monday. That’s a fraction of the 2 million total tests the agency has ordered, with the rest expected to arrive in the coming weeks.
Health officials in Washington state said that residents will soon be able to order free at-home COVID-19 tests through a new state website. Once the state’s website launches, each household will be able to order one testing kit, which includes four to five tests, and the kits are expected to arrive within one to two weeks, said Lacy Fehrenbach, the state’s deputy secretary for COVID-19 response.
WHO: Omicron wave may not be pandemic’s end
The World Health Organization’s director-general on Monday warned that conditions remain ideal for more coronavirus variants to emerge and it’s dangerous to assume omicron is the last one or that "we are in the endgame." But Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the acute phase of the pandemic could still end this year if some key targets are met.
"There are different scenarios for how the pandemic could play out and how the acute phase could end. But it’s dangerous to assume that omicron will be the last variant or that we are in the endgame," Tedros told the start of a WHO executive board meeting this week. "On the contrary, globally, the conditions are ideal for more variants to emerge."
But he insisted that "we can end COVID-19 as a global health emergency, and we can do it this year," by reaching goals like WHO’s target to vaccinate 70% of the population of each country by the middle of this year, with a focus on people who are at the highest risk of COVID-19, and improving testing and sequencing rates to track the virus and its emerging variants more closely.
"It’s true that we will be living with COVID for the foreseeable future and that we will need to learn to manage it through a sustained and integrated system for acute respiratory diseases" to help prepare for future pandemics, Tedros said. "But learning to live with COVID cannot mean that we give this virus a free ride. It cannot mean that we accept almost 50,000 deaths a week from a preventable and treatable disease."
The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.