The seven-day average of new COVID cases held below the 40,000 mark for a fourth straight day on Thursday, and has fallen 14% over the past two weeks to 39,918, according to a New York Times tracker. At the same time, COVID-related hospitalizations fell 16% from two weeks ago to 29,159, the lowest count since Nov. 25, and those in intensive-care units (ICUs) declined 19% to 3,595, the fewest since Nov. 26. The daily average for deaths fell 17% from two weeks ago to 457, but that was still well above the low-300 levels seen in late November. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its data on the effectiveness of receiving a bivalent booster dose for those aged at least 12 years old, saying those who receive the booster are three-times less likely to die from COVID than those who only received original COVID-19 vaccines, and 14-times less likely to die than those who are unvaccinated.
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