In recent months, the delta variant of the novel coronavirus has made COVID-19 cases surge across the nation. Now, the wave may finally be receding.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reported cases of COVID-19 had decreased by 13.3 percent Friday compared to the previous seven days. Additionally, the number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered increased by 6.4 percent Thursday compared to the seven previous days.
Southern states with low vaccination rates were hit hard as the delta variant spread this summer, according to USA Today. Vaccine hesitancy seems to be a driving factor in the low rates, as the outlet reported a widespread availability of free shots.
The delta variant of the virus is more contagious than the initial strain and even some fully vaccinated people came down with breakthrough infections.
Around one month ago, the U.S. caseload peaked with approximately 164,000 new COVID-19 infections reported per day, said USA Today. Overall, around 6.3 million cases came with the delta surge from the time it began in early July.
Cases are still high in some places, such as Alaska, according to USA Today. There, hospitals have been forced to ration care. However, cases are declining for most of the U.S. Just in the last month, the average infections per day have dropped by 34.7 percent to approximately 107,000 new infections daily, according to a USA Today analysis of Johns Hopkins University data.
The most recent CDC data shows that hospitalizations were down around 15 percent last week and deaths were down around 3 percent.
While it may look like the U.S. is finally pulling out of the deadly surge, the country’s top health official warned people this week not to drop mitigation efforts such as vaccination yet.
“We still have 70 million Americans in this country who are eligible to be vaccinated who have not gotten vaccinated yet,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told CNN Monday. “So we don't want that number to continue to go up, and we can blunt it very, very well with vaccinations.”