It’s only one day, but the difference was dramatic.
On Sunday, there were 396 deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S., according to the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering. Exactly a year before, on Feb. 6, 2021, there were 2,662 deaths.
While that’s just a single day — and over the past month the two numbers was not far apart — other data show things may be beginning to ebb.
“Most states are now reporting fewer deaths than they had been a week ago, a USA Today analysis of Johns Hopkins University data shows,” the paper wrote Monday. “Just 20 states reported increasing numbers of deaths compared to the previous week. That number was 34 states a week earlier. The United States continues to average about 2,400 to 2,500 deaths per day, a daily human cost about equal to the losses at Pearl Harbor.”
“We need to be cautiously optimistic,” Ogbonnaya Omenka, an assistant professor and director of diversity at the Butler University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, told USA Today. “Considering the surrounding circumstances, including the spread of the virus still, it won’t be very useful to the public to expect omicron to be the last variant.”
The downward trend was predicted by scientists and immunologists worldwide.
For instance, Denmark’s chief epidemiologist predicted last month that the SARS-CoV-2 variant Omicron will lead to the end of the worldwide pandemic, meaning “we will have our normal lives back in two months.”
Tyra Grove Krause said on Danish TV 2 that a new study from Denmark’s State Serum Institute found that the risk of winding up in the hospital with Omicron is half that seen with the previous Delta variant. She also said that, like the emergence of the variant in South Africa, cases will rise, then quickly fall.
“I think we will have that in the next two months, and then I hope the infection will start to subside and we get our normal lives back,” she said last month, according to the Daily Mail.
“Omicron will peak at the end of January, and in February we will see declining infection pressure and a decreasing pressure on the health care system,” she said. “But we have to make an effort in January, because it will be hard to get through.”
And she said that once Omicron becomes the dominant strain of the virus, the world would be better off. “Omicron is here to stay, and it will provide some massive spread of infection in the coming month[s]. When it’s over, we’re in a better place than we were before,” the study said.
Krause said that the highly communicable Omicron variant appears to be milder, which means more people will catch it, have less serious symptoms — and then be immune. That could move the world toward herd immunity.
Her comments mirror those of top U.S. immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci, who appeared Last month on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos.”
“One of the things that we hope for, George, is that this thing will peak after a period of a few weeks and turn around. We have seen that happen in South Africa, where they had a major surge, but, as quickly as the surge went up, it turned around,” Fauci said.
“But what about the evidence that Omicron leads to less serious infection, less serious illness?” Stephanopoulos asked.
“Well, there’s accumulating evidence, George, that that is the case. We first got inkling of that in South Africa. When one looked at the relationship and the ratio between hospitalizations and cases, it was lower, the duration of hospital stay was lower, the requirements for oxygen was lower. We’re seeing a bit of that, not as pronounced, in the U.K., but certainly that trend. And if you look here at the United States, we don’t want to get complacent at all, and you don’t want to jump to a positive conclusion, because it’s still early,” Fauci said.
While former President Donald Trump was in office, about 400,000 Americans died of the virus. Since January 20, 2021, when President Joe Biden took office, there have been about 500,000 deaths.
Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent, and ran the Drudge Report from 2010 to 2015. Send tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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