As of late, coronavirus deaths have hovered above 1,000 per day, while the number of new cases per day is around 60,000. Now, the CDC’s Director Robert Redfield is saying that there will be a decline in mortality across the U.S. His aim is to get daily deaths below 250, and daily new cases below 10,000.
Redfield said that starting this week, COVID-19 deaths should start declining. In an interview with the Journal of the American Medical Association, he stated, “You and I are going to see cases continue to drop. And then hopefully this week and next week, you’re going to start seeing the death rate really start to drop again.”
Overall, cases are rising slightly per day across the nation. There are still hotspots, such as Texas, Arizona, and New Jersey. Health experts see a worrying trend in the heartland of Middle America, where cases are plateauing in states such as Nebraska and Oklahoma.
Coronavirus death numbers
So why are coronavirus deaths in the U.S. falling even as the number of cases are rising? Case fatality rate or infection fatality rates are falling across the nation, except in places like Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New Hampshire — this could be due to the larger amounts of testing being done.
Part of the reason for falling death rates could be that doctors have figured out how to better treat severe cases and keep people off ventilators. Medications, such as the steroid dexamethasone and the anti-viral drug remdesivir, have helped lower death risk. Doctors have also adopted new methods like having patients lie on their stomachs to reduce suffocation from pneumonia.
Another factor is that more young people are being infected as older people shelter at home, and younger people are less likely to die from coronavirus. Some scientists claim that the current strain is a mutated version of the virus (D614G) that is more infectious but less deadly.
Morbidity and aftereffects of COVID-19
But what’s the difference between mortality and morbidity? While the mortality rate might be going down, the morbidity of coronavirus is high. For example, many people still experience symptoms way after having the virus, such as trouble breathing and heart problems.
Compared with the rest of the world, the U.S. leads in cases and deaths, with over 5.7 million infections and over 177,000 deaths. As far as percentage of the population with infections, the U.S. ranks behind only Peru and Chile, while it’s on par with Brazil.