With the United States projected to reach 500,000 deaths from COVID-19 sometime this week, New Hampshire reported one additional death and 267 cases of the deadly virus on Sunday.

Hospitalizations in the Granite State continued to decline over the weekend. There are 109 people hospitalized in New Hampshire with COVID-19, a drop of seven cases from Friday.

The latest victim was a woman from Coos County who was 60 or older. There have now been 1,154 deaths in New Hampshire from COVID-19.

State health officials on Sunday also announced 267 new COVID-19 cases. The daily PCR test positivity rate was listed at 2%.

The total number of cases since the pandemic began is now 73,413. Of that total, 69,319 people have recovered and 2,940 cases are considered current.

Though the number of COVID-19 cases nationally fell for the fifth straight week, officials said Sunday the country is projected to reach 500,000 deaths from the highly infectious respiratory disease by the end of the week.

“It’s nothing like we’ve ever been through in the last 102 years since the 1918 influenza pandemic. ... It really is a terrible situation that we’ve been through — and that we’re still going through,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, White House COVID-19 medical adviser and the nation’s top infectious disease official, told CNN’s “State of the Union” program on Sunday.

The White House has said it will memorialize the moment but had no immediate comment on Sunday about its plans. President Joe Biden last month observed America’s COVID-19 deaths on the eve of his inauguration with a sundown ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial’s Reflecting Pool.

More than 28 million COVID cases have rocked the United States and 497,862 have died, even as daily average deaths and hospitalizations have fallen to the lowest levels since before the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. The virus took a full year off the average life expectancy in the United States, the biggest decline since World War Two.

While the decline “is really terrific ... we are still at a level that’s very high,” Fauci said in a separate interview on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” program. “We want to get that baseline really, really, really low before we start thinking that we’re out of the woods.”

Fauci told CNN that Americans may still need masks in 2022 even as other measures to stop the virus’ spread become increasingly relaxed and more vaccines are administered, and they may need a booster shot depending on how variants emerge.

Less than 15% of the U.S. population has received at least one vaccine dose, with nearly 43 million getting at least one shot and nearly 18 million getting a second shot, U.S. statistics show.

Wire service reports were used in this story.

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Monday, March 08, 2021
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