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The United States last week reported the lowest number of new COVID-19 cases in nearly a year, with new infections dropping 26% from the previous seven days to just under 180,000, according to a Reuters analysis of state and county data.

Deaths from COVID-19 fell 5% to 3,969 in the week ended May 23, the fewest deaths in a week since March 2020. 

About 39% of the country's population has been fully vaccinated as of Sunday, and 49% has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Vermont leads the country with 69% of its residents receiving at least one dose, followed by Massachusetts at 65%.

The rate of vaccinations, however, has been slowing for five straight weeks. In the past seven days, an average of 1.8 million vaccine doses were administered per day, down from a peak of 3.1 million shots per day in April. 

Nationally, new cases have fallen for six weeks in a row and hit their lowest level since the week ended June 14, 2020.

Nine out of 50 states logged week-over-week increases in new cases, including Hawaii, which reported a backlog of probable cases, and Delaware, which processed a backlog of tests.

Excluding those backlogs, Michigan led the nation in new cases per capita, although new infections have fallen for five weeks in that state. The next highest rate was in Wyoming, where cases rose by 27% or an increase of 125 cases from the previous week.

The lowest rates of infection based on population were in California, Oklahoma and Nebraska.

Nationwide, the average number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals fell 14%, the fifth weekly drop in a row and the lowest weekly number since April 2020.

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