In a signal that the pandemic may really be nearing its end, the number of recorded deaths from COVID-19 dropped to its lowest level in over a year Sunday.
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) April 5, 2021
Only 222 deaths were attributed to the coronavirus on Sunday, down from 676 on Saturday and from a seven-day average of 804 deaths per day for the previous seven days, according to statistics from Johns Hopkins.
It was the lowest number of deaths recorded from the virus since March 23, 2020, when there were 192 deaths. At that time, the virus was just beginning to gain a foothold in the U.S., and within less than a month, there were over two thousand deaths per day in the U.S. on average.
Cases up slightly as deaths keep falling
Deaths have been steadily dropping since the peak of a wave over the holidays as millions per day are being vaccinated against the virus, especially the elderly and vulnerable as well as first responders.
The seven-day rolling average is close to the plateau last fall between a summer wave and the most recent one in December and January.
New case numbers have risen slightly over the past month as states have reopened and people have gone back to work and school, but many of these cases are younger people who don’t have much risk of death or hospitalization from the virus.
The numbers are consistent with an increasingly vaccinated elderly population and a younger population that senses it is safer to resume normal activities.
Reported deaths will likely be higher for some days during the coming week because reporting is slower on weekends, but the downward trend is likely to continue as close to three million people per day are now receiving vaccinations against the virus.
Recent studies have found that fully vaccinated people have almost no chance of dying from the virus and that they transmit it as much lower rates, up to 90% lower in some cases, than those who have not been vaccinated.
Forty percent of adults in the U.S. have now received at least one dose of the vaccine, and 25% are fully vaccinated.
A Friday Wall Street Journal editorial made the case that if deaths from the virus continue to decrease at current levels, they will drop lower than average flu deaths by Memorial Day. At that point, writer Nicole Saphier posits, it doesn’t make sense to keep wearing masks and social distancing.
After all, we never did that for the flu, did we?