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Expand chart
Data: N.Y. Times; Cartogram: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

COVID-19 cases have been falling across the U.S. for weeks — and now deaths are finally on the decline, too.

Why it matters: The Delta wave may truly be behind us, and though unvaccinated people in heavily unvaccinated areas will always remain at risk, getting the virus under control would allow the country as a whole to breathe a little easier this fall.

By the numbers: The U.S. is now averaging roughly 102,000 new cases per day — a 22% drop over the past two weeks.

  • Deaths are also falling, by a nationwide average of about 13%. The virus is now killing roughly 1,800 Americans per day.
  • Deaths had been rising for the past few weeks even as infections declined. That’s to be expected — deaths are the last number to go up when a new wave sets in, and the last to go down when that wave ebbs.

Context: A year ago, when no one was vaccinated and the worst wave of the pandemic was just getting started, experts were sounding the alarm because cases had crept up above 50,000.

  • To be sitting above 100,000 daily cases now, even after millions of Americans have been vaccinated or have some level of immunity from a previous infection, is a sign of just how transmissible the Delta variant is and how poorly the U.S. has contained it.
  • And while some vaccinated people do get infected, almost none will die from those infections. But six months after every American adult became eligible for a vaccine, the virus' death toll in the U.S. is still roughly equivalent to a 9/11 every two days.

The bottom line: The number of Americans contracting and dying from COVID-19 remains quite high, but things are moving in the right direction.

Go deeper

10 hours ago - Health

Study reveals disparities in hospitals' COVID funds

Hospitals that received the most federal coronavirus relief money were disproportionately academic-affiliated and had higher pre-pandemic assets, according to a new study published in JAMA Health Forum.

Yes, but: Those hospitals were also more likely to have had higher numbers of COVID cases.

16 hours ago - Health

DeSantis touts bonuses for unvaccinated police who relocate to Florida

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a press conference Friday in Kissimmee, Fla. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced plans Sunday to "hopefully sign" legislation to provide a $5,000 bonus to police officers who relocate to Florida in order to avoid COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

Why it matters: The governor's pledge during an appearance on Fox News comes amid escalating tensions with the Biden administration over its upcoming vaccine requirement for federal workers.

12 hours ago - Health

A choose-your-own COVID booster adventure

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

COVID-19 boosters are now available for many adults who want one.

  • But the various combinations of who should get one and when now that mixing and matching shots got the OK just made the process much more complex.

Why it matters: The CDC has yet to issue final clinical guidance but the panel's discussions and interim clinical considerations last week show picking whatever shot they want leaves room for confusion.