Evolution of Pandemic Efforts
Interpretive Summary for February 24, 2023
Evolution of Pandemic Efforts
A few weeks ago, the federal government announced plans to end the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) on May 11, 2023. COVID-19 remains a public health priority—it has impacted all aspects of daily life and contributed to a decline in life expectancy. Many people remain at higher risk for severe illness and death. However, we are in a much better place than we were three years ago. Widespread prevention and control measures like vaccination are helping transition to a new era in the pandemic. This is the first in a series of Weekly Review discussions about the end of the PHE and what it means for CDC and the data we report.
The end of the PHE doesn’t mean that CDC will stop tracking COVID-19 and sharing information and data. Most CDC COVID-19 data activities won’t be directly affected, but there will be changes. For example, some hospitalization data are now reported daily but may be reported less frequently in the future, and vaccine administration data might be reduced in some areas. To ensure the public continues to have access to COVID-19 data, CDC is working to determine which data products remain critical for monitoring public health, preparedness, and patient safety.
CDC remains dedicated to preventing severe illness and death from COVID-19, with particular concern for people who are at higher risk. COVID-19 remains a critical public health issue, still the sixth leading cause of death in the United States in January 2023. CDC is actively working with other federal government agencies and offices to maintain as much access as possible to vaccines, testing, and treatments. It remains important to stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines, especially for people at higher risk for severe disease. Find a vaccine.
Note to Readers: The Disability Information and Access Line can help people with disabilities find local vaccination locations, make appointments, find accessible transportation options, and connect with other community resources to improve access to vaccinations.
Note to Readers: COVID Data Tracker Weekly Review will publish every other week starting March 3, 2023. Please visit CDC’s COVID Data Tracker for COVID-19 data, CDC’s Respiratory Virus Hospitalization Surveillance Network (RESP-NET) for data on respiratory virus-associated hospitalizations, and CDC’s National Emergency Department Visits for COVID-19, Influenza, and Respiratory Syncytial Virus dashboard for data on emergency department patient visits with diagnosed COVID-19, influenza, and RSV.
- Updated booster dose data for the total population and the population younger than age 18 years were added to the Vaccination Equity page.
- Effect of Predeparture Testing on Postarrival SARS-CoV-2–Positive Test Results Among International Travelers — CDC Traveler-Based Genomic Surveillance Program, Four U.S. Airports, March–September 2022
- Notes from the Field: Aircraft Wastewater Surveillance for Early Detection of SARS-CoV-2 Variants — John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York City, August–September 2022
- Notes from the Field: Epidemiologic Characteristics of SARS-CoV-2 Recombinant Variant XBB.1.5 — New York City, November 1, 2022–January 4, 2023
- Preliminary Estimates of Effectiveness of Monovalent mRNA Vaccines in Preventing Symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Infection Among Children Aged 3–5 Years — Increasing Community Access to Testing Program, United States, July 2022–February 2023
- COVID-19 Vaccination Coverage and Demographic Characteristics of Infants and Children Aged 6 Months–4 Years — United States, June 20–December 31, 2022
- COVID-19 Bivalent Booster Vaccination Coverage and Intent to Receive Booster Vaccination Among Adolescents and Adults — United States, November–December 2022
COVID-19 Community Levels*
As of February 23, 2023, there are 67 (2.1%) counties, districts, or territories with a high COVID-19 Community Level, 655 (20.3%) with a medium Community Level, and 2,498 (77.6%) with a low Community Level. Compared with last week, the number of counties, districts, or territories in the high level decreased by 0.5%, in the medium level increased by 0.2%, and in the low level increased by 0.3%. Overall, 44 out of 52 jurisdictions** had high- or medium-level counties this week. District of Columbia, Nevada, New Mexico, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah and Washington are the only jurisdictions to have all counties at low Community Levels.
To check your COVID-19 Community Level, visit . To learn which prevention measures are recommended based on your COVID-19 Community Level, visit COVID-19 Community Level and COVID-19 Prevention.
*CDC recommends use of COVID-19 Community Levels to determine the impact of COVID-19 on communities and to take action. CDC also provides Community Transmission Levels to describe the amount of COVID-19 spread within each county. Healthcare facilities use Community Transmission Levels to determine infection control interventions.
**Includes the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.
U.S. COVID-19 Community Levels by County
As of February 22, 2023, the current 7-day average of weekly new cases (33,733) decreased 9.2% compared with the previous 7-day average (37,135). A total of 103,268,408 COVID-19 cases have been reported in the United States as of February 22, 2023.
Total Cases Reported
Current 7-Day Average*
Previous 7-Day Average
Change in 7-Day Average since Previous Period
*Historical cases are excluded from weekly new cases and 7-day average calculations until they are incorporated into the dataset for the applicable date. Of 57,680 historical cases reported retroactively, 31,776 were reported in the current week and none in the prior week.
Weekly Trends in COVID-19 Cases in the United States Reported to CDC
CDC Nowcast projections* for the week ending February 25, 2023, estimate the proportion of these lineages designated as Omicron with estimates above 1%: XBB.1.5, BQ.1.1, BQ.1, and XBB.
XBB.1.5 is projected to be at approximately 85.0% (95% PI 79.8-89.1%). BQ.1.1, BQ.1, and XBB are all projected to be between 1% and 9.4% of circulating lineages.
XBB.1.5 is growing in proportion in all HHS regions. All other virus lineages are predicted to have very slow or no growth in proportion.
See COVID Data Tracker for the proportions of all relevant lineages currently circulating.
*CDC uses Nowcast projections to predict current variant proportions circulating in the United States. The median time from specimen collection to sequence data reporting is about 3 weeks. As a result, weighted estimates for the most recent few weeks may be unstable or unavailable. View Nowcast estimates on CDC’s COVID Data Tracker website on the Variant Proportions page.
As of February 22, 2023, 671.6 million vaccine doses have been administered in the United States. Overall, about 230.0 million people, or 69.3% of the total U.S. population, have completed a primary series.* About 53.4 million people, or 16.1% of the U.S. population , have received an updated booster dose.
Vaccine Doses Administered
Updated Booster Doses Administered**
People who have completed a primary series* (69.3% of the U.S. population)
People who have received an updated booster (16.1% of the eligible U.S. population)
Percentage point change from last week
Percentage point change from last week
*Represents the number of people who have received the second dose in a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series (such as the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or Novavax vaccines) or one dose of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.
**The number of updated booster doses administered is larger than the number of people who have received an updated booster because one person may receive more than one booster dose.
Daily Change in the Total Number of Administered COVID-19 Vaccine Doses Reported to CDC by the Date of Administration, United States
7-Day moving average
COVID-19 Updated Booster Dose Administration, United States
Total New Admissions
Current 7-Day Average
Prior 7-Day Average
Change in 7-Day Average
The start of consistent reporting of hospital admissions data was August 1, 2020.
Daily Trends in Number of New COVID-19 Hospital Admissions in the United States
New admissions are pulled from a 10 am EDT snapshot of the HHS Unified Hospital Data – Analytic Dataset. Due to potential reporting delays, data from the most recent 7 days, as noted in the figure above with the grey bar, should be interpreted with caution. Small shifts in historic data may also occur due to changes in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Provider of Services file, which is used to identify the cohort of included hospitals.
RESP-NET: COVID-19 Associated Hospitalization Rates among Adults and Children (All Ages)
CDC’s Respiratory Virus Hospitalization Surveillance Network (RESP-NET) shows that overall weekly rates of COVID-19-associated hospitalizations continue to decline. The rates for the 2022-2023 season have declined to 6.2 per 100,000 population for the week ending February 4, 2023, a decrease of nearly 50% from an earlier peak in December 2022.
Overall Weekly Rates of Respiratory Virus-Associated Hospitalizations Among Adults and Children
The dashed lines for the current season indicate potential reporting delays and interpretation of trends should exclude data from recent weeks. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)-Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network (COVID-NET), a RESP-NET platform, is an additional source for hospitalization data collected through a network of more than 250 acute-care hospitals in 13 states (representing ~10% of the U.S. population). Detailed data on patient demographics, including race and ethnicity, underlying medical conditions, medical interventions, and clinical outcomes, are collected using a standardized case reporting form.
The current 7-day average of new deaths (344) decreased 15.2% compared with the previous 7-day average (405). As of February 22, 2023, a total of 1,115,637 COVID-19 deaths have been reported in the United States.
Total Deaths Reported
Current 7-Day Average*
Prior 7-Day Average
Change in 7-Day Average Since Prior Period
*Historical deaths are excluded from the weekly new deaths and 7-day average calculations until they are incorporated into the dataset by their applicable date. Of 4,113 historical deaths reported retroactively, none were reported in the current week and 62 were reported in the prior week.
Weekly Trends in Number of COVID-19 Deaths in the United States Reported to CDC
The percentage of COVID-19 NAATs (nucleic acid amplification tests)* that are positive is decreasing in comparison to the previous week. The 7-day average of percent positivity from NAATs is now 9.8%. The 7-day average number of tests reported for February 10–16, 2023, was 236,244, down 13.8% from 274,144 for the prior 7 days.
Total Tests Reported
7-Day Average Tests Reported
7-Day Average % Positivity
Previous 7-Day Average % Positivity
Percentage point change in 7-Day Average % Positivity since Prior Week
*Test for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19
COVID-19 NAAT Laboratory Test 7-day Percent Positivity by State/Territory
COVID Data Tracker’s Wastewater Surveillance tab tracks levels, changes, and detections of SARS-CoV-2* viral RNA in wastewater at over 1,200 testing sites across the country.
Currently, about 67% of sites across the country are reporting moderate to high SARS-CoV-2 levels in wastewater. About 30% of sites reporting wastewater data are currently seeing some of the highest levels for those sites since December 1, 2021. About 43% of sites are experiencing a decrease in SARS-CoV-2 levels, and about 45% are reporting an increase.
For more information on how to use wastewater data, visit CDC’s wastewater surveillance website.
*The virus that causes COVID-19
SARS-CoV-2 Levels in Wastewater by Site
0% denotes that levels are the lowest they have been at the site; 100% denotes that levels are the highest they have been at the site.