The surge in coronavirus cases that sent related deaths and hospitalizations in the U.S. skyrocketing in recent months appears to have plateaued, some researchers say.
“Yes, we have peaked in terms of cases,” said Ali Mokdad, a researcher for the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, NPR reported Thursday. “We have been coming down slowly. This is very good news — very good news.”
NPR reported the overall number of hospitalized patients appears to have peaked and started to decline slightly. It is down from a peak of over 132,000 patients on Jan. 6 to 122,700 as of Wednesday.
Catlin Rivers, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said based on current trends, the worst of the 2020 holiday season surge looks to be over.
“We are headed to a better place,” Rivers said, NPR reported.
Dr. David Rubin of the University of Pennsylvania, who manages the PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia, said the positive coronavirus test rate has fallen, a sign of flagging infections.
“In most parts of the country you’re seeing declining transmission,” he said, NPR reported.
Nevertheless, the researchers say tens of thousands of new infections are still being reported daily, something that will continue for the near future. A significant decline in infections and deaths will take a number of weeks and months to occur, the researchers say.
“It’s going to take a while,” Rubin said. “There’s going to be a long tail, unfortunately.”
As of Thursday, the U.S. has approximately 24.5 million coronavirus cases and 408,000 related deaths, both tops globally, according to data from a Johns Hopkins University tracker.