Covid-19 guidelines were relaxed this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a strategic linchpin to emphasize individual responsibility given what the agency says reduced risk of serious illness and death, although the data shows the average number of daily deaths is still higher than other points during the pandemic despite falling case numbers.
The US reports an average of more than 100,000 infections per day, mostly caused by the Omicron variant BA.5, according to CDC data.
The rate of new infections appears to be falling – average case numbers are down nearly 14% in the last week – but official numbers are likely gross underestimates given so many people are testing at home.
Over the past month, hospital admissions have plateaued, and more than 40,000 people have been hospitalized with Covid-19 across the United States consistently, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services.
Deaths from Covid-19 have also remained relatively flat since mid-April, CDC data shows, with an average of between 300 and 400 people dying from the virus each day.
While the numbers are a far cry from previous highs – more than 160,000 were hospitalized with Covid during the Omicron winter surge and daily average deaths topped 3,300 in early 2021 – they are still significantly higher than at some other points in the pandemic.
For much of June and July 2021, for example, there were an average of between 200 and 300 deaths per day and 12,000 hospital admissions at one point, according to CDC data.
The CDC on Thursday eased its Covid-19 guidelines, abandoning recommendations that advised those exposed to the virus to quarantine and encouraging institutions like schools to continuously test asymptomatic people. CDC epidemiologist Greta Massetti said the “guideline recognizes that the pandemic is not over, but also helps us get to a point where COVID-19 is no longer seriously disrupting our daily lives.” The update marks a change in CDC policy to emphasize the risk that Covid-19 poses to individuals and to focus on the steps they can take to address it.
The introduction of highly effective vaccines and treatments has helped dampen the number of hospitalizations and deaths and decouple them from the number of infections. With the advent of immune-avoidant variants like Omicron, vaccines today offer relatively little protection against infection, although they still protect against serious diseases. BA.5, an offshoot of omicron, is driving the recent surge after quickly overtaking other omicron relatives to become the nation’s dominant variant. It now accounts for an estimated 88% of infections, according to the CDC, and has sparked renewed calls for Americans to get the booster shots they’re eligible for and efforts to update vaccine formulas for the fall.
1,030,777. This is how many Covid-19 deaths there have been in the US since the pandemic began, according to CDC data. Nearly 205,000 Americans have died so far in 2022. The true death toll from Covid-19 is likely higher than official figures suggest – excess deaths, which include uncounted ones and those who may have died from causes related to the pandemic – and millions who survived the virus , are likely to be suffering from long Covid.
CDC eases Covid guidelines — and drops post-exposure quarantines (Forbes)
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BA.5 drives wave of Covid infections but no deaths – here’s why experts say we should still be cautious (Forbes)
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