said at a news conference on Thursday.

But through nearly two years of the pandemic, the country has celebrated hopeful moments before, only to be disappointed by another wave: when the first surge in cases receded, when vaccines were authorized, when a “hot vax summer” seemed to be on the horizon.

“We need to be super vigilant about what is going on internationally,” said Judith Persichilli, the health commissioner in New Jersey, where case rates are falling quickly and where temporary morgues erected at the beginning of Omicron’s onslaught never had to be used. “Whatever is happening overseas eventually lands on our shores, and it lands first in New York and New Jersey.”

Some of the initial alarm about Omicron, which was first detected around Thanksgiving and quickly stormed across the globe, has lessened as research showed that the variant tends to cause less severe disease than prior forms of the virus. Vaccinated people, especially those who have received booster shots, are far less likely to have serious outcomes, though breakthrough infections are common. Data published on Friday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that booster shots are 90 percent effective against hospitalization with Omicron.

Postal Service. Private insurers are now required to cover the cost of eight tests per person each month.

There has been no return to the stay-at-home orders imposed early in the pandemic, though new restrictions have emerged in some places. Some schools and colleges have transitioned to online instruction, either as a precaution or because of major outbreaks. School closures because of the virus peaked in early January, with millions of children affected by district shutdowns and classroom quarantines. Since then, disruptions have decreased, according to Burbio, a data-tracking company.

Countless Americans have adjusted their routines in recent weeks, avoiding unnecessary outings as cases spiked.

“The timing of this in a place like Cleveland has been bad,” said Marc R. Kotora, the owner of Gust Gallucci Co., a grocer and restaurant food provider that usually sees a big uptick in business around the holidays. “Because of the Omicron variant, we had lots of cancellations for people who wanted us to help cater their parties, and a number of restaurants we sell to closed up for a few weeks.”

In Chicago, where a vaccination mandate for indoor dining and some other activities took effect early this month, officials said they could lift that requirement in the coming months if conditions continued to improve. Cook County, which includes Chicago, is averaging about 8,000 cases a day, down from 12,000 earlier in the month.

“In June, my hope is that we will be in a good place,” said Dr. Allison Arwady, the city’s public health commissioner. “But could there be another variant? Where could we be? I can’t know for sure.”

In New Jersey, where new cases are down 60 percent over the last two weeks, hospitals have resumed more outpatient services and elective surgeries in recent days as the virus burden began to ease. Some facilities have also reclaimed areas that were set aside to accommodate beds for overflow Covid patients.

“Everybody has been so resilient,” said Melissa Zak, the chief nursing officer at Virtua Memorial and Virtua Willingboro, hospitals in southern New Jersey. “But I really worry how much this resiliency can last if it doesn’t continue to come down.”

Still, after two years of watching cases spike and ebb, and with scientists warning that the virus will become endemic, some people were careful not to be too optimistic about the latest data.

“Covid-19 seems to be rapidly changing all the time now,” said Ari Glockner, a student at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. He added: “We don’t know what it is going to be like five years from now, but I would bet we are still going to be dealing with it pretty consistently.”

Mitch Smith and Julie Bosman reported from Chicago, and Tracey Tully from New Jersey. Reporting was contributed by Dana Goldstein in New York, Ben Grenaway in Salt Lake City, Daniel McGraw in Cleveland and Donna M. Owens in Baltimore.

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