Covid-19 cases surge in the US, but deaths stay near lows

For two years, the coronavirus killed Americans on a brutal, predictable schedule: A few weeks after infections climbed so did deaths, cutting an unforgiving path across the country. But that pattern appears to have changed. Nearly three months since an ultra-contagious set of new Omicron variants launched a springtime resurgence of cases, people are nonetheless dying from Covid at a rate close to the lowest of the pandemic. “In previous waves, there were still substantial pockets of people who had not been vaccinated or exposed to the virus, and so we’re at the same risk of dying as people at the beginning of the pandemic,” said David Dowdy, a researcher at Johns Hopkins. “Those pockets don’t exist anymore.”
Covid-19 is still killing an average of 314 people daily, but it is one-tenth the number who were dying every day in January 2021. Also, the country is now recording 10 times as many cases as it was at that time, indicating that a smaller share of cases is ending in death. By some estimates, the case fatality rate – the share of recorded Covid cases that prove deadly – is one-third lower than it was last summer and one-quarter lower than it was in December.
By his rough calculations, Dowdy estimated that the ratio of deaths to test positivity fell threefold from the early days of the pandemic to January 2022, and fourfold from January 2022 to this spring. “What we’re seeing is that average case of Covid is becoming much milder.”

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