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What appears to be a fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has struck Michigan, the New York region and New England, and experts are uncertain whether it will remain contained.

“The United States has entered a fourth wave of transmission, and there’s no disputing this. Whether it remains as small regional outbreaks, or whether it generalizes nationwide remains to be seen,” Dr. George Rutherford, a UC San Francisco epidemiologist, said Friday at a campus town hall meeting.

Nationally, there has been an 8% week-over-week increase in the average daily number of newly diagnosed coronavirus cases, rising to about 62,000 for the seven-day period that ended Wednesday, federal officials said Friday. The average daily number of new hospital admissions for COVID-19 patients rose 5% over the same period.

California, where case numbers have dipped to levels not seen since the end of last spring, is in a much better situation. The state is reporting daily averages of 2,500 to 2,700 cases. (During the worst of the surge in the fall and winter, California was reporting 45,000 cases a day.) Additionally, California has had a coronavirus test positivity rate of 1%-2% over the last week — compared with 16% in Michigan and 9% in New Jersey.

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