Why ARE coronavirus cases plummeting?

Daily Mail:

New infections have fallen 44% in the US and 30% globally in the past 3 weeks and experts say vaccine is NOT the main driver because only 8% of Americans and 13% people worldwide have received their first dose

  • On Wednesday, a total of 110,679 new coronavirus infections were reported with a seven-day rolling average of 135,904, a 44% decline from the average three weeks earlier
  • The decline appears to be a global phenomenon, with new infections falling worldwide for the past three weeks in a row, the World Health Organization said Monday  
  • Hospitalizations have fallen nearly 30% from a peak of of 132,474 on January 6 to 92,880, the lowest figure seen since November 29
  • Currently, 44 states are seeing a decline in cases with just Alabama, Louisiana, Montana, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania trending upward, according to Johns Hopkins data 
  • California’s 21,451 new confirmed cases on Tuesday are about one-third the mid-December peak of 54,000
  • New York recorded 8,215 new infections on Tuesday, down from the record-high of 19,942 new cases reported on January 15
  • Health experts say it is too soon for vaccines to be playing a major role in the decline with just 8% of the population having received the first shot and fewer than 2% being fully immunized
  • Officials say the drop is likely due to a higher number of people who’ve had the virus than official counts suggest, as many as 90 million people, and fewer people traveling than did over the winter holidays

As the deadliest month of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. came to end, the nation is seeing signs of progress including plummeting rates of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations and accelerating vaccinations rates.  

On Wednesday, 110,679 new infections were recorded, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, which is much lower than the 215,805 infections that were recorded just three weeks ago.

What’s more, the seven-day rolling average of new cases currently sits at 135,904, a 44 percent decline from the average three weeks weeks earlier, a DailyMail.com analysis shows.  

Forty-four states are seeing a decline in cases, Johns Hopkins data reveals, with just Alabama, Louisiana, Montana, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia, on the upswing.

In addition, as the country headed into February, COVID-19 hospitalizations fell below 100,000 for the first time in two months. 

Currently, 92,880 patients are hospitalized with the virus, the lowest figure seen since November 29 and falling nearly 30 percent from a peak of 132,474 on January 6, according to data from The COVID Tracking Project. 

The U.S. death toll has surpassed 446,000 – with an average of about 3,200 deaths per day – but experts say fatalities are a lagging indicator and will likely increase over the next couple of weeks before declining as those severely infected over the winter holidays pass away.  

However, most officials say that, with fewer than two percent of the population fully immunized against the virus, it is too soon to say that vaccines are causing the decline.

So the question remains: why are cases falling so fast in the U.S. and can the nation stay ahead of the fast-spreading mutations of the virus? 

Public health experts believe that the decline in cases is likely a combination of a higher number of people who’ve had the virus than official counts suggest – meaning as many as 90 million people have antibodies against the virus – and fewer people traveling and holding gatherings than did over the winter holidays.

It’s not just the U.S., however. The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday it has also seen declining new infections globally over the past three weeks. Our World in Data graphs show the daily infection rate has fallen by 30 percent in that period. 

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