The U.S. added fewer than 30,000 new Covid cases over the past day—the fewest since early September, according to Johns Hopkins University, as the fourth American Covid surge appears finally to be dying down.
There were 29,367 cases added over the past day, Johns Hopkins reported—the lowest daily case increase since September 8.
New cases have been steadily declining over the past few weeks, after peaking at an average of more than 70,000 a day in mid-April during the height of the fourth U.S. coronavirus surge.
Hospitalizations and deaths lag behind changes in new case counts, but both of those metrics are also showing declines.
According to a New York Times tracker, hospitalizations were at 41,929 on April 29 (the most recent date stats are available), down from a high of 47,643 on April 14.
The seven-day average for deaths is now at 694, according to the Times, putting the death count back on a declining track after a brief rise to more than 750 a day in mid-April.
“I’m pretty sure we’re done with this so called 4th wave,” Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, tweeted last week. “Thank goodness.”
A local milestone was hit in Los Angeles County on Sunday, when the county recorded no Covid-19 deaths for the first time in more than a year. It’s also a significant mark since the area was a major Covid hot spot during the record-breaking winter surge.
After months of decline, new case counts hit a plateau during early March before steadily rising again later in the month, followed by a spike in hospitalizations and a very small rise in deaths. But the rise many health experts and media outlets described as the “fourth wave” never approached the level of the three earlier Covid surges in the United States—thanks to vaccinations. And widespread vaccinations among the elderly and the at-risk appear to have significantly cut down on deaths, with the death spike hardly noticeable even after a fairly large rise in cases. Still, top health officials like Dr. Anthony Fauci are warning the vaccination rate remains well below what’s needed to fully reopen society, while the transmission rate remains above what health experts would like to see.
104 million. That’s how many are now fully vaccinated in the U.S.—representing nearly 32% of the total population.
Though vaccinations seem to have contained the latest U.S. surge, there’s been no such saving grace in India, where new case counts are averaging almost 400,000 per day—by far the highest any country has ever recorded, according to Johns Hopkins. Progressive lawmakers in the U.S. and a large group of developing countries are strongly pressuring vaccine manufacturers and the Biden Administration to waive patent protections for vaccine formulas, arguing that generic vaccines would allow for a speedup in production and distribution. But there are many who counter that waivers would do little to actually speed up the rollout, arguing that regulatory factors would prevent any sort of expedited distribution.
Los Angeles County reports no new COVID-19 deaths (Los Angeles Times)