After several bleak weeks of sickness and death in the U.S., figures from the COVID Tracking Project indicate that there may be some light at the end of the tunnel in the current surge of COVID-19.
The COVID Tracking Project reports that in the past week, new cases of COVID-19 have been falling in 36 states and territories across the U.S. In another 12 states and territories, cases are holding level, while cases are only rising in three.
The only states and territories where new cases of COVID-19 are on the rise are Maine, Virginia and Wyoming.
According to the COVID Tracking Project, the seven-day rolling average of new COVID-19 cases has plummeted by about 30,000 in the past week. Though daily case numbers remain extremely high at 213,707, the downward trend indicates that the current surge — which health experts suspect might have been caused by holiday travel — may be coming to an end.
And while hospitals across the country remain overcrowded, hospitalizations linked to the virus have come down in the past week as well. The number of nationwide hospitalizations has decreased by nearly 8,000 since reaching its peak on Jan. 7.
But while the downward trend is encouraging moving forward, deaths may still continue to rise this week. Health experts say that deaths lag behind trends in new cases and hospitalizations by a week or two, meaning that there could still be a surge in COVID-19 deaths this week.
As of Monday, the seven-day rolling average of daily COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. was above 3,300 — a near-record level. For perspective, 2,977 people died in the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
The dip in new cases and hospitalizations is a welcome sign for the U.S., which is continuing to distribute COVID-19 vaccines to those most at risk for the disease. According to Bloomberg, the U.S. has distributed 14.3 million doses of the vaccine and distributed an average of 898,000 shots a day last week.
President-elect Joe Biden, who takes office Wednesday, has said he wants to deliver 100 million doses of vaccine within his first 100 days in office.