(NEXSTAR) – As the number of vaccinated Americans continues to grow, COVID-19 cases are falling, leaving officials optimistic that efforts to slow the spread are working.
Nine U.S. states have given 70 percent of adult residents at least one shot, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those states are Vermont, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Connecticut, Maine, New Jersey and Rhode Island.
Earlier this month, President Biden announced a July 4 goal of 70 percent of U.S. adults receiving at least one shot.
The states still under the 50 percent threshold include Idaho, Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, Georgia, West Virginia, Louisiana, Wyoming, Alabama and Arkansas.
Forty-nine percent of the total U.S. population has had at least one COVID vaccine shot, and new infections in the U.S. have fallen to levels not seen since June of 2020. The seven-day average for new cases plummeted to below 30,000 per day last week, and the average number of deaths over the past week also fell to 552.
“As each week passes and as we continue to see progress, these data give me hope,” Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, said at a news conference Friday.
A number of businesses across the country have mounted promotions to encourage people to get vaccinated with offers of free and discounted food and other products.
In Ohio, the state has created a lottery with million-dollar drawings and scholarships to incentivize people to get vaccinated.
The Biden administration also announced a partnership with Uber and Lyft to provide Americans with free rides to and from vaccination sites.
People are celebrating new freedoms amid the positive data – residents of Mobile, Alabama even put on a Mardi Gras-style parade over the weekend during which throngs of maskless revelers made up for canceled Carnival celebrations, despite officials urging people to demonstrate personal responsibility.
Other states, like California, announced that a full reopening is coming – if hospitalization rates and vaccine supply numbers trend in the right direction.