As Alabama’s mandate on wearing face masks comes to a close, the numbers for new COVID cases and deaths continue to fall, with new-case averages now below those last reported in June of last year.
In Birmingham Watch’s periodic analysis of COVID data, the 7-day average of new cases reported by the Alabama Department of Public Health is now at 382.43 per day, a drop of more than 100 over the past seven days. It’s the first time that average has dropped below 400 since June 9, 2020.
The longer-term 14-day average, which is less susceptible to fluctuations from data spikes, is now at 436.94 new cases per day. The last time this average was that low was on June 11. The average is down by 85 cases per day over the past week, or 16.3%.
The death toll continues to decline as well, with the 7-day average falling below 10 per day for the first time since early November. That average now stands at 9.57, dropping by almost half in the past week. The 14-day average is down to 13.64 deaths per day, off by 28% over the week.
The number of hospital beds occupied by COVID patients is coming down at a slower rate. As of Tuesday, the most recent day for which data available, 360 inpatients were diagnosed with COVID or recovering from the effects of the virus. That number is 41 less than the report from the previous Tuesday, a drop of slightly more than 10%. By contrast, more than 1,000 COVID patients were hospitalized six weeks ago.
Gov. Kay Ivey announced on March 4 that she will not extend her order requiring face masks to be worn in most public places. The current order expires on April 9, and Ivey has not given any indication since that she has changed her mind. Her stand runs contrary to that of President Joe Biden, who said Tuesday that he is urging governors to keep mask orders in place or to reinstate those that were removed. And on Monday, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky became emotional when she said she felt “impending doom” because of increasing new cases in the nation over the last week.
While Alabama’s COVID data has looked much better in the last month, the numbers in other parts of the nation — particularly in the northeast — have spiked upward again. The data is even more troublesome in other parts of the world, especially Europe, where new variants of the virus have caused faster spreading.
Jefferson County had 382 new COVID cases in the past seven days, a 7-day average of 54.57 cases per day. That’s down from 534 new cases over the previous week, a decline of 28.5%. Eight deaths were reported over the week. The county’s 14-day average positivity rate — the percentage of COVID tests that returned positive results — is now at 5.22%, down from 7.88% a week prior. That’s a drop of about one-third over seven days.
More than 610,000 people in Alabama have received both doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or the single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine. A total of 1,619,878 doses have now been administered out of 2,424,215 delivered to the state.
Birmingham Watch’s analysis is based on numbers updated each day by the ADPH on its website.