HealthDay News — COVID-19 hospitalizations in the United States fell below 9000 in the past week, the first time that milestone has been reached since tracking began in the summer of 2020. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that hospitalizations were at 8256 as of May 25.
Hospitalizations are among the few COVID-19 metrics still being monitored by public health officials, which will continue until April 2024. Still, some infections may no longer be counted because of changes to how hospitals are testing, CBS News reported.
The CDC is still expected to recommend wearing masks when an area’s hospitalizations are high. New boosters could be recommended later this year. The US Food and Drug Administration will meet this summer to consider booster recommendations.
World Health Organization advisers have recommended updated COVID-19 boosters targeted to spreading XBB strains. Current boosters target an earlier virus and omicron variants.
Late spring has been a time of record low hospitalizations for each of the past few years. Case numbers previously reached low levels in May and June 2021, for example, but then surged in August of that year because of the delta variant. At that point, hospitalizations were at more than 85,000 in the highest week, CBS News reported. In 2022, something similar happened with record lows in April, following a wintertime omicron surge with 150,000 weekly new hospital admissions.
What will happen this year is not known, but there are again new and shifting variants, from XBB.1.5 strains that are descending in numbers of cases to XBB.1.16 variants that now comprise 19% of infections, according to the latest CDC data.