The United States has recorded fewer than 100,000 new COVID-19 cases over a seven-day average for the first time since November 2, it has emerged, as New York City restaurants opened their doors to indoor diners once more, and Montana lifted its mask mandate.
The new data from the Covid Tracking Project will hearten experts, and comes as 3.2 million vaccinations were given in just two days.
On Wednesday, 1.56 million vaccinations were administered, according to Our World In Data. On Thursday the number was 1.6 million.
The U.S. first breached the weekly average of one million doses a day on January 23.
To get the country to herd immunity by the summer, the U.S. needs to hit an average of two to three million doses a day, scientists believe.
Yet experts are hopeful that the pandemic is moving in the right direction.
New York City on Friday resumed indoor dining. Pictured: Cka Ka Qellu restaurant in the Bronx
The milestone of vaccinating more than 3 million people in two days was announced on Friday
On Friday the Covid Tracking Project reported 1.8 million tests nationwide, which resulted in 101,000 new cases.
They found there were 71,504 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19.
On Friday there were 2,918 deaths reported from the virus.
The positive outlook came on the day that Montana lifted its mask mandate, after Greg Gianforte, the governor, said the state has made significant progress vaccinating the most vulnerable against COVID-19.
Gianforte has been a vocal opponent to the mask mandate, which was signed into law by his predecessor, Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock, in July.
Montana is the fourth Republican-run state to remove a mask mandate, following from Iowa last week, North Dakota and Mississippi.
Kim Reynolds, the governor, removed almost all remaining COVID-19 restrictions in the state, including the state’s mask mandate and social distancing requirements for bars and restaurants.
Gov. Cuomo was initially poised to reopening indoor dining on February 14, but decided to bring the date two days forward. As of Sunday, restaurants will also be able to operate for an additional hour – with a closing time of 11 pm, as opposed to current mandated time of 10pm
Restaurants are currently able to fill just 25 percent of their indoor space – with many saying they will still not survive with three-quarters of their tables staying empty. Dante in Manhattan is pictured
I’ll have what she’s having! Indoor dining has resumed in New York City, almost two months after Gov. Andrew Cuomo suspended the practice amid a second wave of COVID-19 cases. Happy diners are seen inside Katz’s Delicatessen in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, famous for being a location in the 1989 romcom When Harry Met Sally
In New York City, meanwhile, indoor dining resumed in the Democrat-run region, after a two month suspension amid a second wave of COVID-19 cases.
On Friday, relieved restaurant owners were finally able to let patrons back inside for the first time since December 13 – albeit at a reduced capacity.
Restaurants are currently allowed to fill just 25 per cent of their indoor space.
Many say it is not enough, and they will still not survive with three-quarters of their tables staying empty.
Some are pushing Cuomo to allow eateries to operate at a 50 per cent capacity – an idea he says he is open to as long as the number of coronavirus cases continues to decline.
New York City is still recording thousands of new COVID-19 cases per day, but numbers are dropping slightly following a post-holiday surge.
On Friday, the seven-day average COVID positivity rate for the City was at 7.9 per cent.
Deaths and hospitalizations remain far lower than they were during the spring of 2020, during which time the city was the global epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic.
Cuomo was initially poised to reopening indoor dining on February 14, but decided to bring the date forward by two days.
As of Sunday, restaurants will also be able to operate for an additional hour – with a closing time of 11pm, as opposed to current mandated time of 10pm.