The most severe surge of the Covid-19 pandemic in the U.S. has weakened significantly, according to key metrics, though public-health experts and epidemiologists urge caution, given the spread of highly contagious new variants.
Newly reported cases have dropped 56% over the past month, based on a seven-day average, marking a significantly steeper fall than the U.S. saw after the spring and summer surges. Hospitalizations have declined 38% since Jan 6. The seven-day average of Covid-19 tests returning positive fell over the past week to 6.93%, the lowest since Oct. 31.
Unlike during earlier moments in the pandemic, case counts are heading lower amid a mass-inoculation effort. But even after such a steep decline, cases and hospitalizations remain higher than during earlier surges, deaths continue to hover near records, and the rise of more contagious coronavirus variants could quickly worsen the spread.
“The concern right now is that while we’re seeing a decline in cases from the holiday surges, as we identify more transmission of the variants within the U.S., this could lead to another surge,” said Saskia Popescu, an assistant professor at the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University.
For public officials, managing the pandemic has long been a balancing act.
Source: WSJ – US News