A major morbid COVID milestone, which we first warned about earlier this am, has arrived: As of Monday afternoon on the East Coast, the US has officially confirmed more than 500K deaths involving COVID-19.
Keep in mind, these are only the deaths that have been confirmed. As NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo has demonstrated in recent weeks, the publicly disclosed figures can sometimes reported with a backlog for myriad reasons (including fears about political rivals using the numbers - aka, the truth - to slam Cuomo) and his fellow Democrats during the months leading up to the election.
Source: Bloomberg, ZeroHedge
After the beginning of the pandemic, it took four months to reach the first 100K dead. The toll hit 200K deaths in September and 300K in December. Then it took just over a month to go from 300K to 400K and about two months to climb from 400K to the brink of 500K. Meanwhile, the global death toll is approaching the 2.5MM mark, though that milestone is still probably more than a week away: Worldwide, we were at 2.47MM deaths.
The death toll comes just one year after the country's first coronavirus death was confirmed.
NIAID director Dr, Anthony Fauci celebrated the steep decline as "really terrific" on Sunday, although he noted that the "baseline of daily infections is still very, very high."
He added that the COVID pandemic isn't a COVID-19.
There are myriad reasons why COVID cases and deaths are declining. Part of the reason why daily COVID-19 case counts have dropped around the country is because fewer people are getting tested. The US reported 1.23MM tests on Sunday, bringing the seven-day average down to 1.32MM. A month of declines pulled the daily average 35% below the mid-January peak, the most sustained decline in testing since the pandemic began, according to data from Johns Hopkins and the COVID Tracking Project.
The seven-day average of new cases in the US is down by 25% from the prior week to 64.3K, hitting a four-month low. The sharp fall in the cases is partly due to reduced testing (number of daily tests has declined to 1.3MM, down from the record of 2MM in mid-January). Yet, even adjusted for tests, daily cases are still down with the sharpest weekly decline since last May.
In Europe, the seven-day average is down 13% from last week to 60.9K. Compared to the mid-January peak, cases are down 74% in the US and 55% in Europe. Globally, the 7-day average of new cases stood at over 363.9K, a 4.5% decline from a week ago. Meanwhile, the 7-day average of COVID-related fatalities across the globe was 9.5K yesterday
"The testing decline explains why cases have gone down more than hospitalizations," said Carlos del Rio, executive associate dean at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. "The number of cases, increasingly is not going to be a good reflection of what is going on."
In other news, President Biden will hold a candle-light vigil on Monday evening to honor those who died of COVID and their families (and all who helped care for them). Additionally, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the top Dem in Congress, has ordered the flags at the US Capitol, to be flown at half-staff due to the passing of 500K Americans from COVID-19.