September 24, 2022
Hundreds of Americans are still dying of covid every day—higher than at other points during pandemic
Covid-19 guidelines were loosened by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week, a strategic pivot to emphasize individual responsibility in light of what the agency says is a lower risk of severe illness and death, though data show the average number of daily deaths is still higher than other points during the pandemic despite falling case numbers.

The U.S. is reporting more than 100,000 infections a day on average, largely driven by the BA.5 omicron variant, according to CDC data.

The rate of new infections appears to be dropping—average case numbers have fallen nearly 14% in the last week—but official tallies are likely drastic underestimates as so many people are using at-home tests.

Over the past month, hospitalizations have plateaued and there have consistently been more than 40,000 people hospitalized with Covid-19 across the U.S., according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Covid-19 deaths have also remained relatively constant since mid April, CDC data shows, with between 300 and 400 people dying on average each day with the virus.

While the figures are a long way off earlier peaks—more than 160,000 were hospitalized with Covid during the omicron winter surge and daily average deaths exceeded 3,300 in early 2021—they are still notably higher than levels at some other points in the pandemic.

For large parts of June and July 2021, for example, there were between 200 and 300 deaths a day on average and at one point 12,000 hospitalizations, according to CDC data.

The CDC eased its Covid-19 guidelines on Thursday, ditching recommendations that advised those exposed to the virus to quarantine and encouraged institutions like schools to continually test asymptomatic people. CDC epidemiologist Greta Massetti said the “guidance acknowledges that the pandemic is not over, but also helps us move to a point where COVID-19 no longer severely disrupts our daily lives.” The update marks a shift in CDC policy to emphasize the risk Covid-19 poses to individuals and focus on the steps they may take to address this.

The rollout of highly effective vaccines and treatments have helped dampen rates of hospitalization and death and decouple them from the number of infections. Vaccines now offer relatively little protection against infection given the rise of immune evading variants like omicron, though they still protect against serious illness. BA.5, an offshoot of omicron, is driving the latest surge after rapidly 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 are eligible for and efforts to update vaccine formulas for fall.

1,030,777. That’s how many Covid-19 deaths there have been in the U.S. since the pandemic started, according to CDC data. Nearly 205,000 Americans have died in 2022 so far. The true death toll of Covid-19 is likely to be greater than official figures suggest—excess deaths, which include those not counted 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. (Source: Forbes)
Story Date: August 14, 2022
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