VIRUS TODAY: Deaths drop, but health experts urge vigilance

Here’s what’s happening Friday with the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S.:

THE NUMBERS:

VACCINES: More than 65.9 million people, or 19.9% of the U.S. population, have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some 35 million people, or 10.5% of the population, have completed their vaccination.

CASES: The seven-day rolling average for daily new cases in the U.S. decreased over the past two weeks from 69,891 on Feb. 25 to 53,797 on Thursday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

DEATHS: The seven-day rolling average for daily new deaths in the U.S. decreased over the past two weeks from 2,079 on Feb. 25 to 1,386 on Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University.

STATE VACCINATION RATES: The percentage of population that received at least one dose of vaccine, according to the CDC: New Mexico (27.7%); Connecticut (27.6%); Alaska (26.5%). States with the lowest rates: Alabama (16.7%); District of Columbia (15.9%); Georgia (14.6%).

THREE THINGS TO KNOW TODAY

— Coronavirus infections and hospitalizations have plummeted, but the decline in deaths from a January peak of about 4,500 hasn’t been quite as steep. But after weeks of hovering around 2,000, it’s dropped to about 1,400 U.S. lives lost each day. Health experts urge vigilance.

— International allies are prodding President Joe Biden to release supplies of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has received emergency clearance from the European Union and World Health Organization but not from the U.S.

— Broadway theaters are still shuttered with no end in sight. That means people who make their living in entertainment had to be creative. Dancers are teaching classes online and actors are doing voiceover work.

QUOTABLE: “One year later and things still aren’t the same,” says Jeremy Shouse, a restaurant manager from North Carolina, adding his wages have dropped 20%. An AP-NORC Poll finds 54% of Black Americans have lost some form of household income during the pandemic compared with 45% of white Americans.

ICYMI: Religious leaders and spiritual counselors across the U.S. ministered to the ill, fed the hungry, consoled the bereaved. Some did so while recovering from the coronavirus or mourning the loss of their own family members and friends.

ON THE HORIZON: No. 11 Kansas, No. 16 Virginia and unranked Duke will miss the Big 12 and ACC men’s basketball tournaments this weekend because of positive coronavirus tests.

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Find AP’s full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic

Copyright © 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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