COVID-19 admissions dip: 5 updates

New COVID-19 admissions were down slightly for the week ending Sept. 16, marking the first time since July weekly hospitalizations haven't increased.

U.S. hospitals saw just over 19,600 new COVID-19 admissions that week, down 4.3 percent from the 20,552 reported the week prior, CDC data shows. The percentage of emergency department patients diagnosed with the infection were also down about 19 percent compared to the previous week. 

The trends align with what wastewater surveillance data has been suggesting. Nationwide, average COVID-19 levels were down about 5 percent last week compared to the previous week, indicating the virus may have peaked in some parts of the country. However, even if cases start to decline over the next few weeks, past trends indicate the U.S. could see another winter wave in a few months. 

Four more updates: 

  • CDC data analyzed by ABC News found that 6.9 percent of adults reported having long COVID-19 in 2022, while 3.4 percent said they currently have the condition. Meanwhile, 1.5 percent of children reported having long COVID-19, while 0.5 percent report currently having it.

  • A study found molnupiravir, Merck's COVID-19 antiviral, was linked to random mutations that in some cases may have spread. "Molnupiravir is one of a number of drugs being used to fight COVID-19. It belongs to a class of drugs that can cause the virus to mutate so much that it is fatally weakened," researchers said. "But what we've found is that in some patients, this process doesn't kill all the viruses, and some mutated viruses can spread. This is important to take into account when assessing the overall benefits and risks of molnupiravir and similar drugs."

  • Masking policies have been left in the hands of individual hospitals and systems, with some hospitals implementing masking amid the uptick in COVID-19 while others have not. Updated CDC guidance said healthcare facilities should take a risk-based approach to universal masking, but it should still be used when a unit or facility experiences an

  • Starting Sept. 25, Americans can again order free COVID-19 tests through the federal government. 

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