CDC's latest COVID-19 update: Vaccines and variants take center stage

The CDC published its COVID-19 weekly review on Friday, revealing that as of the end of the week, more than 174 million vaccine doses have been administered in the US, including more than 66 million people who are now fully vaccinated. As well, the agency discusses the SARS-CoV-2 variants circulating in the US and explains why it is important to 'remain vigilant.'

The CDC's COVID Data Tracker now includes the SARS-CoV-2 variants circulating in the US, as well as a global map that shows variant reports for each country. Based on the most recent data, the CDC says that a little more than 27-percent of the COVID-19 cases in the US involve the SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.1.7, while a different variant called B.1.429 is responsible for around 9-percent and the B.1.427 variant for around 4.3-percent.

In addition, the CDC reports that the number of people in the US being hospitalized with COVID-19 dropped substantially in early April compared to early January — to the tune of 67.7-percent. Over the 7-day period the ended on April 6, the US saw an average of 5,336 hospital admissions, a big drop from the average peak of 16,521 reported for the first week of April.

Since the start of the pandemic, older adults and the elderly have been at the greatest risk of developing severe COVID-19. The CDC's latest report has good news, revealing that over the past two months, the number of adults ages 65 and older who have been hospitalized with the disease dropped more than 70-percent.

Deaths due to COVID-19 have likewise decreased over the past 12 weeks as a greater number of people in the US become eligible for the vaccine. The agency notes that Americans still need to 'remain vigilant,' however, as cases have been trending upward again. Fortunately, though, vaccines greatly reduce the severity of the disease in people who have received both shots (for the single-shot version).