Data: CSSE Johns Hopkins University; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Coronavirus infections in the U.S. are now at their lowest levels in seven months, thanks to the vaccines.

The big picture: The vaccines are turning the tide in America’s battle with the coronavirus. Deaths and serious illnesses have dropped significantly, and now cases are falling too — an important piece of protection for the future, if we can keep it up.

By the numbers: The U.S. averaged about 48,000 new cases per day over the past week.

  • That’s a 13% improvement over the week before, and it’s the first time since October that average daily cases have dipped below 50,000.
  • 20 states saw fewer new cases over the past week than they did the week before, while outbreaks got bigger in 10 states.
  • New Jersey saw the biggest improvement over the past week, with a 40% drop in new cases, followed by Connecticut, at 30%.

Why it’s happening: Over half of all American adults have now gotten at least one shot of a vaccine, and 41% of adults are fully vaccinated.

Between the lines: It took a while for the U.S. vaccination drive to translate into a sustained decline in the number of new cases, and the virus is still surging worldwide.

  • Because the virus has already been able to spread so widely, it will likely stay in our lives for years to come, thanks to new variants that will continue to evolve.
  • Future variants may be deadlier, or more able to evade our existing vaccines. For now, though, the vaccines appear to be highly effective against nearly every common variant.

The bottom line: The vaccines are working. They are saving lives and beating back the virus right now, and they can minimize the virus’ presence in our lives in the future — if enough people get them.

This content was originally published here.

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