COVID-19 cases dropping in U.S.—and throughout the world

covid cases dropping
Photo via United States Mission Geneva/Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

The numbers of COVID-19 cases are dropping in the United States and throughout the world, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) and other sources monitoring the pandemic numbers.

As CNN noted, COVID-19 case numbers have declined for a fourth week in a row, according to WHO data. While more than 3.1 million new cases of COVID were reported around the world for the first week of February, that’s a 17% drop from the previous week. It’s also the lowest number of cases worldwide since the week of October 26, 2020.

According to the Wall Street Journal, newly reported cases have dropped 56% over the past month within the U.S., based on seven-day averages. The article characterized that as “a significantly steeper fall than the U.S. saw after the spring and summer surges.” 

On Feb. 8 and 9, according to U.S. News and World Report, new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. dropped below the 100,000 mark. That milestone comes following a month of declining daily cases following an early January peak. 

Though more than 27.23 million people in the United States have been infected with the coronavirus, according to a New York Times database, the 96,460 new COVID cases reported on Feb. 9 represent a 35% drop from case numbers just two weeks prior. 

All of that data, taken together, is encouraging to health officials, even with some wariness regarding the new variants of COVID-19 circulating. 

“We are continuing to watch these data closely, and although hospital admissions and cases are consistently dropping, I’m asking everyone to please keep your guard up,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a Feb. 9 press conference. “The continued proliferation of variants remains of great concern and is a threat that could reverse the recent positive trends we are seeing.” 

Infectious disease expert and presidential advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci echoed that advice and advocated for vaccinations. While more than 42 million doses of coronavirus vaccines have been administered in the U.S., he said continued vaccination efforts are “the best defense against the evolution of variants.”

The data is showing a decline in what graphs illustrate as a distinct third wave of COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began. Yet, the current case numbers are nearly double the daily new case numbers at the height of the second wave in July and about triple the numbers of the first COVID-19 case peak back in April. 

CNN’s look at global numbers showed that new cases in the Americas accounted for more than half of all new cases worldwide, with more than 1.5 million new cases and more than 45,000 new deaths. Africa saw the greatest decline in cases, at 22%, even with a new variant of coronavirus spreading in South Africa that caused a re-evaluation of using the AstraZeneca vaccine there. 

Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, tweeted that now is the “riskiest moment” to lift restrictions, noting that as daily death toll continues to drop, leaders will feel pressure to relax measures “just as the variants will be taking off.”

Jha expressed belief that “life will be much better by summer” but that the U.S. must “stay the course on public health measures until more folks [are] vaccinated.”

Sources: CNN, Wall Street Journal, U.S. News and World Report, New York Times

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