Maine health officials reported just eight new cases of coronavirus on Tuesday, tying for the lowest one-day total since the early days of the pandemic.
Additionally, 54 more people have recovered, bringing the number of active cases to 390, down from 436 on Monday.
The Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention has tracked 3,566 confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 since mid-March. Maine also has seen 114 deaths connected to the virus, a lower total than all but nine other states.
Over the last 10 days, Maine has averaged 17 new cases per day, well below an average of 38 new cases per day during the previous 10-day period. There have only been four days since late March when daily case numbers were in the single digits, but two of those have come in the last nine days — Tuesday and on July 6.
Hospitalizations remain low in Maine as well — just 18 were hospitalized as of Tuesday — and have been trending downward since peaking in late May.
So far, Maine has avoided the kind of spikes in cases that others states have seen, although officials said that doesn’t mean Maine is over the pandemic by any means.
As of Sunday, Maine was one of only three states (with Delaware and New Jersey) that reported declining rates of new cases compared to the previous week, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. By comparison, 33 states saw higher rates, led by major spikes in heavily populated states like Florida, Arizona, Texas and California. The rate of new cases was steady in 14 states.
Many states that had lifted restrictions have now been forced to reinstate them.
The United States has now accounted for more than 3.3 million of the world’s 13.1 million cases, or 25 percent, and more than 135,000 of the approximately 572,000 deaths worldwide, or 24 percent, even though the U.S. makes up only slight more than 4 percent of the world’s population.
Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah is expected to brief the media Tuesday afternoon. He’ll also be a guest on the MainePublic call-in show, Maine Calling, at 1 p.m. to talk about the importance of wearing masks in areas wearing physical distancing is not possible.
Face coverings remain a flashpoint as the pandemic wears on. President Trump, who had long resisted encouraging wearing masks, was photographed for the first time wearing one when he visited Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Saturday.
There is a growing body of research that concludes widespread mask wearing in public dramatically reduces the risk of the virus spreading and many experts have said it’s the best tool we have to safely reopen the economy. U.S. CDC Director Robert Redfield underscored that point on Monday by saying that if everyone more a mask in public for the next six weeks, “we could drive this (coronavirus) into the ground.”
This story will be updated.