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"COVID-19 Deaths in U.S. Level Off as Delta Variant Surge Eases"

The Wall Street Journal interviewed Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology and community health sciences, about the current surge in COVID-19 infections, including 84,500 deaths in August and September

Friday, October 1, 2021

The Delta coronavirus variant’s deadly surge through the U.S. is leveling off, another sign that the nation’s most recent wave has crested.

The seven-day average for daily reports of new Covid-19 deaths has hovered near 2,000 for more than a week, and on Thursday slipped below 1,900, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. That follows a roughly two-month climb in deaths as Delta swept particularly aggressively through the southern U.S., hammering states like Florida, Louisiana and Arkansas. Public-health authorities and researchers say severe illness and deaths have largely hit unvaccinated populations.

The surge has pushed northward, hitting states from Idaho and Montana to Maine. But a cool-down in places like Florida has helped slow the national numbers, epidemiologists say. Cases started leveling off nationally in early September, leading to declines, and death trends tend to trail case trends by several weeks.