Daily U.S. COVID deaths fall below 300

WASHINGTON — For the first time in nearly 15 months, daily deaths from COVID-19 nationwide have fallen below an average of 300 for the last seven days, providing further evidence that the pandemic is in abeyance across the United States.

That seven-day average now stands at 286 daily fatalities from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. That last time that seven-day average was below 300 was on March 27, 2020.

New infections are also falling, with only 12,322 infections, on average, over the last week. In this case too, such low counts have not been seen since March 2020 — and that was because the pandemic was just gaining force in the United States.

By contrast, in January, the nation suffered an average of more than 200,000 infections and 3,000 fatalities daily.

Vaccines were only beginning to be distributed at that time. They are widely available now, explaining the precipitous decline in infections and fatalities.

“These numbers make it clear,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, during a Thursday meeting of the White House pandemic response team. “Getting vaccinated gets us back to normal.”

12-year-old Justing Concepcion receives a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) from registered nurse Angela Nyarko, during a vaccination event for local adolescents and adults outside the Bronx Writing Academy school in the Bronx borough of New York City, New York, U.S., June 4, 2021. (Mike Segar/Reuters)
Nurse Angela Nyarko administers a Pfizer shot during a vaccination event in the Bronx borough of New York City on June 4. (Mike Segar/Reuters)

About 147 million Americans are now fully vaccinated. They comprise 44 percent of the population, a share not large enough to stop community spread entirely. Epidemiologists are especially worried about the Delta variant, which emerged in India and has been proliferating in the United Kingdom. Studies conducted there indicate that people who are only partially vaccinated have little protection against the Delta variant, whereas just one of two doses does afford protection against other versions of the coronavirus.

During Thursday’s briefing, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a top pandemic adviser to the Biden administration, announced that the federal government would devote $3 billion to therapeutic treatments against the coronavirus.

Dr. David Kessler, another pandemic adviser to the Biden administration, explained in an emailed statement that even “with very effective vaccines, some people may remain vulnerable to the virus, including people who are immunosuppressed or who are unvaccinated.”

Kessler said that an “easily administered oral antiviral drug would be an important part of our therapeutic arsenal,” suggesting that development of such a drug could also be used to help combat the pandemic in other nations.

In many parts of the world, vaccination efforts have barely begun.


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