Covid-19 numbers including new cases and hospitalizations have finally taken a dip after the long and hard winter surge. According to Johns Hopkins University data, this last week the nation recorded a significantly lower daily average of new cases — just under 100,000. This is less than half the 250,000 daily cases recorded on average during the peak surge days of early January.
Hospitalizations have also come further down from being more than 132,400 at one point in January.
So what is finally driving down these numbers now? Could this be because of the vaccinations?
Health officials disagree. To date, only a little over 38 million Americans have received at least the first shot of a Covid-19 vaccine. What explains the drop in surge is something else.
Former Director of the CDC, Dr. Tom Frieden believes it’s the other factors that have effectively contributed. He said Sunday,
“It's what we're doing right: staying apart, wearing masks, not traveling, not mixing with others indoors."
And while the numbers have dropped, it’s more important to bear in mind that the pandemic is not yet over.
Several thousands of new cases continue to be reported on a daily basis while over 67,000 people continue in hospitalization across the US. And within this month alone, the country has recorded more than 42,500 deaths from the virus.
And while that’s enough to keep up cautious of our surroundings, the circulation and spread of new variants pose yet another threat. This next surge, if it materializes could be deadlier than ever. Commenting on this Dr. Frieden said,
"We've had three surges. Whether or not we have a fourth surge is up to us, and the stakes couldn't be higher -- not only in the number of people who could die in the fourth surge, but also in the risk that even more dangerous variants will emerge if there's more uncontrolled spread."
That is why public health officials and infectious disease experts alike are urging state leaders to not remove mask mandates or ease certain restrictions just yet.
CDC Director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, gave her opinion along the same lines. She said on Sunday,
“It's encouraging to see these trends coming down, but they're coming down from an extraordinarily high place. If we want to get our children back to school, and I believe we all do, it all depends on how much community spread is out there."
She then insisted,
“We need to all take responsibility to decrease that community spread, including mask-wearing so that we can get our kids and our society back."