The Omicron wave of Covid-19 cases has receded significantly in the US over the past few weeks, but more people are dying each day from the contagious illness than died during the peak of the Delta wave last summer.
The mixed metrics on Covid have created a contrasting, roses-and-thorns situation for Americans. Cases are declining and the burden on hospitals is lessening even as more than 2,400 people have died every day over the past seven days.
The US is now averaging just over 290,000 new Covid-19 cases per day, according to Johns Hopkins University. That’s a higher daily total than in any previous wave of Covid-19, but it’s a steep drop from just a few weeks ago.
Cases now are a third of what they were three weeks ago, when the total peaked at about 800,000 new cases per day.
Although evidence suggests the Omicron variant causes milder illness than previous variants according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it has infected so many people so quickly the number of people hospitalized with Covid-19 three weeks ago was higher than at any point in the pandemic.
The number of hospitalized patients has declined in recent weeks, though it remains higher than during the Delta wave. There are about 110,000 people currently hospitalized with Covid-19, according to JHU, a a 19% drop from last week.
New hospital admissions also are down compared to last week.
All those infections and hospitalizations have led to grim daily death tolls.
The US is now averaging 2,462 new deaths each day, according to JHU. This is a 3% increase from last week. Since the start of the pandemic, more than 900,000 people in the US have died of Covid-19.
Across the country, about 64% of the population is fully vaccinated with at least their initial series, and about 27% of the population is fully vaccinated and boosted.
The vast majority of those hospitalized and dying of Covid are not vaccinated. Unvaccinated adults age 18 and older had 15-times-higher risk of dying from Covid than fully vaccinated adults in November, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The contrast is even starker for those with a booster dose of the vaccines. Unvaccinated adults had 68-times-higher risk of dying from Covid than boosted adults in November, the CDC said.