Newly Recorded COVID-19 Cases and Deaths Are Falling in the U.S.

It's not clear how long those hopeful trends will continue.


Newly recorded COVID-19 cases and deaths in the United States, which rose dramatically this fall, now seem to be declining. According to Worldometer's numbers, the seven-day average of daily new cases fell by 18 percent between December 18 and yesterday. The seven-day average of daily deaths has fallen by 19 percent since December 22.

Daily new cases in the U.S. are still five times as high as they were in mid-September, while daily deaths are three times as high as they were in mid-October. But the seven-day average of daily deaths, about 2,200 as of yesterday, has dropped slightly below last spring's peak after exceeding it for several weeks. The recent trends, assuming they continue, are a hopeful sign that the winter might not be quite as deadly as many people feared.

Back in October, for instance, Joe Biden said "the expectation is we'll have another 200,000 Americans dead [from COVID-19] between now and the end of the year." That implied a total U.S. death toll of about 423,000 by January 1. Per Worldometer, the current death toll is about 342,000. With four days to go in the year, it looks like Biden's projection will be off by 70,000 or so.

Allowing for the lag between laboratory confirmation and death, the recent drop in fatalities corresponds with a decrease in daily new cases recorded in late November. Since newly identified infections are falling again, it is plausible that daily deaths will continue to fall as well.

But for how long? Since COVID-19 symptoms that might prompt someone to seek testing appear two to 14 days after infection, the increase in confirmed cases following the dip in late November is consistent with the fear that gatherings over Thanksgiving weekend would boost virus transmission. The impact of Christmas and New Year's Eve gatherings may not be fully apparent until mid-January or later.

The pessimistic take on the recent dip in daily new cases is that it simply represents a falloff from the surge associated with Thanksgiving, which suggests that cases and deaths will rise again as infections tied to Christmas and New Year's Eve celebrations show up in the official tallies. A more optimistic interpretation is that the dramatic increases in cases and deaths have encouraged wider and more consistent compliance with COVID-19 precautions.

Did the new legal restrictions imposed by many states also play a role? Maybe, although a comparison of the two most populous states seems inconsistent with that hypothesis. California, where Gov. Gavin Newsom has imposed a raft of new restrictions, has seen about the same decline in daily new cases as Texas, where Gov. Greg Abbott has taken a more lenient approach. Texas has seen a bigger decline in daily deaths.

However you interpret current trends, they show that continued increases in new cases and deaths are not inevitable. The way Americans choose to behave in the months until vaccines are widely available will determine exactly how deadly the pandemic proves to be.

Update, January 1, 2021: The seven-day average of daily deaths, which fell steadily from December 22 through December 28, seems to be rebounding now, which suggests the decline was driven largely by Christmas-related reporting issues. The seven-day average of daily new cases, which fell between December 18 and December 28, has risen slightly since then, although it was still 16 percent below the peak as of yesterday.

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  1. See, the lockdowns are working. SleepyJoe will be a National hero.

    1. He did it all without even sitting in the White House too!

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    2. so many people have caught it and recovered that herd immunity is finally taking hold

      1. along with the increase in the underwtanding that the PCR tests are NOT accurate in diagnosing who has what.. they only reveal if SOME parts of many different viruses are present, or pieces of them, and with the hugely high number of replication cycles canno way accurately determine who has/recently had the virus in question. Seasonal flu and the majority of colds are due to other strans of corona virus, not the one that brings COVID 19 along. The bogus “positive PCR tests” are being used to lie to us about “massive increases in CASES. But the long standing definitioin of a “case” MUST include symtoms known to be associated with the suspected or supposed disease. The individual with ONLY a posutuve test result is NOT a “case” yet that is what we are being told. Enough of the lies already.

        Still overall total deaths from all causes in the US have actually gone down a slight bit from the same figures for 2018 and 17, about the ame as last year, and yes a bit more than a few years back. So WHERE are all the addiitioinal deaths DUE to COVID?
        (hint– they are NOT THERE)

  2. A more optimistic interpretation is that the dramatic increases in cases and deaths have encouraged wider and more consistent compliance with COVID-19 precautions. displayed they typical behavior of any virus.

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    2. I haven’t seen any signs of “more consistent compliance” in California. Christmas shopping was in high gear, cases should be going up if the theories were right. Most likely just starting to hit herd immunity.

  3. Let’s wait til the holidays are over…there is a great deal of manual reporting in the data collection and reporting. Look at Thanksgiving and you see the same thing.

    1. It’s gonna get bad, man! Really bad!

      1. as in “BAAA AAAA AAaaaa aaaa aad”?

  4. It’s time to bring the hammer down on China…

    Oh wait that’s right Chicom Joe and his sociopathic protege are going to be in charge. They’ll probably invade Turkmenistan to take your mind off of things.

    1. Nah, Heels Up Harris the ‘sort of Jewish Princess’ is too busy celebrating Kwanzaa at the moment.

    2. It’s time to bring the hammer down on China…

      For what? Spreading a cold that is so insignificant that it has created no deaths that were not merely people who would have died anyway in the next couple weeks?

      1. Looks like there are about 200,000 more deaths from all causes than last year, so this was NOT insignificant. There have also been some thousands of deaths of people from 0-59 without comorbidities. Just unlucky. Additionally, the people who died from Covid, still died before they would have otherwise, maybe a day maybe a decade, there is no way to know. So please – don’t suggest that China’s unwillingness to reveal the existence and genetic blueprint of this virus was somehow harmless. It was not.

        1. I’m aware of that. I’m also aware that the main people pigeonholing this politically as a blame china virus are precisely the people who have been minimizing the virus.

          The fact is that the genetic blueprint of this virus was delivered to the world in around mid-January. Which is why every country on Earth was able to develop a test and start doing research within a couple days of that.

          There is a real cover-up of what happened WITHIN China – during December 2019. But that simply means that Wuhan/Hubei failed to inform Beijing of what was happening.

          The failure of Beijing to be honest with the rest of the world was a roughly one week period in January. Totally fucking irrelevant compared to the real problem in the US. Which was a failure to treat anything seriously until March. The problem in the US was arrogance by bureaucrats and blame-shifting by pols. Not china

  5. So the Communist Chinese Virus continues to act just like a virus?
    Damn; I am shocked, shocked.

    1. Once you get it, you are hungry for more infections an hour later.

  6. 4 Articles on the Coronavirus today with a nod in the headline of the Trump admin article too. You’d think they were trying to ramp up the panic again for some reason….

  7. However you interpret current trends, they show that continued increases in new lockdowns are inevitable.

  8. Many regions of the country are already past their peak. CA is basically the last holdout. The virus will be over just in time for Biden to dial down the cycles on the PCR test and declare victory.

    1. I knew it was a bad idea to flatten the curve all the way into cold and flu season.

  9. What happened to the Thanksgiving spike? I thought we were all gonna die.

    1. You did die you just know that your in hell already

  10. “The way Americans choose to behave in the months until vaccines are widely available will determine exactly how deadly the pandemic proves to be.”

    Or maybe, just maybe, our responses were totally inconsequential, and the virus would have behaved pretty similarly absent any government mandates. This idea that deaths from a pandemic will just keep on happening *forever* bar some sort of intervention flies in the face of everything we know about how pandemics actually work.

    If we did nothing in 2020 in response to covid-19, we also would have seen peaks and valleys in infections and deaths. Not everyone was going to get infected, and not everyone was going to die.

    1. there was never a vaccine for the Spanish flu which was far deadlier but still not everyone died like they will from the Kungflu it is so spoken

  11. It’s the new strain. Like any virus, the more contagious, the weaker it becomes.

  12. There is basically no drop in hospitalizations, implying that these “drops” are just reporting gaps.

  13. This is a sadly unscientific article. Whendid Reason start spouting unscientific rubish claiming that lockdowns work?

    1. The day lockdowns started?

  14. As of today in the US, there are 19.4 million documented cases and 335,000 documented fatalities.

    So the current CFR is about 1.73%

    CDC serology estimates the IFR to be no greater than 1/6 the CFR, so that’s currently about 0.3%

    Best case estimate for herd immunity is about 2/3 of the US population, so that’s about 220 million infections, best case.

    220 million infections at 0.3% IFR is still about 660,000 fatalities, so it’s really only halftime.

    Of course, vaccines may help to mitigate this toll, but given the broad spectrum of American attitudes about things like vaccines and public health measures, I think there is still time to profit from investments in companies that make body bags, coffins and urns.

    1. …so it’s really only halftime. Of course, vaccines may help to mitigate this toll

      In 2 months, the most vulnerable 1/4 of the country will have been vaccinated. By sometime in March, daily fatalities will be down to car-accident level.

      Politicians will drag out the paperwork, but this is going to be over before people think.

      1. OK. That’s fair enough. What’s your over/under on grand total of body bags. Please show your math. I’m a reasonable nihilist, open to evidentiary persuasion. But minus any compelling new data trends, I’m sticking at 660k in the ground before the “all clear” siren wails.

        1. No way. We will run out of old feeble sick people . The death rate declines over time.

          1. Sure. Will will run out of old, feeble sick people. But will we do so before we hit 660K US dead?

            There are still a lot of boomers out there – and something like 36-42% of the US population is obese (not just fat, but OBESE) which is key risk factor for covid lethality in younger people.

            IHME model is currently predicting 567K by April 1.

            On the brighter side, these poor souls would all be granted release from this mortal coil before taxes are due on April 15.


    2. “Best case estimate for herd immunity is about 2/3 of the US population, so that’s about 220 million infections, best case.”

      You left out an important fact. As has been shown in many unintended natural experiments, 40-60% of the population isn’t susceptible in the first place.

      So, roughly speaking, 165 million Americans could become infected.

      Herd immunity kicks in at ⅔ of that, so 110-ish million.

      There have been 20-ish million documented cases. However, that number is much smaller than the number of infections. After all, it seems 85% of those infected have either no, or minor, symptoms.

      If number of infected is three times documented cases, then 80 million have been infected so far.

      Which means 30-ish million remain to susceptible to infection.

      No wonder cases are starting to drop significantly (as they are where I live, in Idaho, which has had relatively minor restrictions that haven’t changed in months),

      1. That’s interesting.

        “40-60% of the population isn’t susceptible in the first place” is new information for me.

        When you say “40-60% of the population isn’t susceptible” does that mean these are individuals with asymptomatic infections – or is this subset of the population simply resistant to infection?

        1. Hi, Nihil.

          Aircraft carriers, cruise ships, prisons, and meat packing plants have had outbreaks in confined populations.

          Forty to sixty percent of those populations never develop symptoms, nor show antibodies.

          The theory is that those people had previously been exposed to a coronavirus sufficiently similar so as to have primed their immune systems.

          1. Hi, Skipper –

            That seems reasonable.

            Thanks for the info.

            I’ve been working on my DIY dime-store epidemiology degree this year and it’s always good to a get new and cogent data that cuts through the tsunami of insane, political nonsense.

            Thanks again.

    3. That herd immunity estimate is nonsense. No pandemic, not even the spanish flu, has achieved more than 33% population penetration. Most peter out by 20-25%. (Herd immunity estimates at ~2/3 require unrealistic assumptions like ‘the population homogenously mixes’).

      We’re probably mostly done with the pandemic. Another 100k deaths at the absolute worst, and likely less than that.

  15. If you look at the charts, we’ve had 3 spikes:

    March — blamed on travel from China, accurately

    July — blamed on bars reopening, actually due to the mass protest superspreader event

    November — blamed on Thanksgiving (even though it started before that), probably due to the Election Day/Joe Biden street party superspreader event

  16. Pretty much the same pattern as influenza, where in the northern hemisphere there’s a peak in mid-to-late December, then it simmers thru most of the winter, and has another peak in late March and early April.

  17. “Cases” means hospitalizations, yes?

    1. Sadly, no.

    2. Cases means positive tests.

    3. No, the vast majority of people testing positive are sent home to take tylenol and told to come back if they can’t breathe.

  18. The third highest day of deaths in the US was 12/23. On 12/24 government employees left for Christmas. Deaths did not stop occurring, they stopped being reported because people have holidays off.

    1. Hospitalizations were at an all time high 12/28.

      1. How would you know that? Everyone is on vacation.

        1. Everyone is on vacation except for doctors, nurses, paramedics and undertakers.

  19. Cases peaked in Wisconsin and I can tell you from boots on the ground that cases dipped, not because of compliance. If anything people have been letting their guards down for quite some time. Restaurants are open and look to be doing well. High schools are playing sports and my facebook feed is full of unmasked gatherings from xmas and earlier. It seems like there is something the epidemiologists are missing. Perhaps the virus flames out on the low-hanging fruit people.

  20. Its a Christmas miracle! Literally. Let’s see what the numbers show after the offices who report such numbers are fully back in business next week.

  21. 342,000 have not directly died from Covid. I think the real number is 1/5 of that, maybe. We cannot trust any of this…the deaths, cases, testing, isolations, lockdowns, and the vaccines. Never mind the experts who all have the same doctor degree as Gates…from a Cracker Jack box. However, for the conspiracy theorists…perhaps Covid is now running scared from Joey taking control. He’ll not only wipe out capitalism, freedom and self responsibility…but Covid. After all, the Dem Marxists have successfully destroyed global warming.

  22. The interesting thing about Media talking about Covid (including this article) is that whenever it gets worse, it is ALWAYS our fault for “not sealing ourselves in the basement.”

    It would be more interesting if the REAL truth had nothing to do with that and that everything about the disease related ONLY to your circulating 25-hydroxy Vitamin D levels.

    In a couple of years you will see studies and books written that prove this. We will then learn that 2020 was a year of catastrophic failure of Government, science and our own physicians.

    Sanjosemike (no longer in CA)
    Retired surgeon

  23. CA had 5200 new cases on the first day of November. By November 16th it had little over 11,000 new cases – more than week before Thanksgiving and any widespread holiday travel.

    Given that new cases were mostly flat in the two preceding months, you can almost certainly blame the Dodgers and Lakers championship celebration and election related activity. Not to mention spots in places like Korea town holding indoor operations and house parties.

    So no, I don’t think we’re out of the woods. The incubation period for the most recent holiday travel is nearing the end, so states like CA might see the worst surge in January.

    And CA is the microcosm of the covid dilemma in America. There’s a lot of people here spread out across a huge piece of land. And none of them have the mentality of “do the right thing for the state and your people”. Americans are not Japanese. The libs act like covid nannies online but in reality they do whatever they want.

    So big states can theoretically manage their covid count by putting a deadly squeeze on local economy, but every time a cop kills a black person or a NBA team win a championship, a crowd will come out throw a super spreader event. Rinse and repeat.

  24. But of course they are. The closer the time for PedoBiden to take office, the fewer cases and fewer deaths will be reported. Biden, it will be the cure for the virus as soon as he utters the first words, via teleprompter, as president.

  25. So glad that covid business is over (not that you’d know it from the lame-stream media!). Now if we can just get that liability shield I can go back to intimidating my minimum wage employees into working when they’re “sick” (translation: hungover). This must mean that herd immunity has finally worked, though I’d hoped it could have culled the herd of its less productive members a little longer. Of course, this could be a holiday reporting lag or the downside of the Thanksgiving spike. Whatever the case, we should all remember the debt of gratitude we owe to Tomi Lahren for reminding us that mask-wearing makes you look gay. Her work saves lives.

  26. This is the tRUTH about Covid. Catherine Austin Fitts’ credentials are impeccable. You owe it to your children to watch this video and SHARE it:

    1. I wanna know how they got all these people to play dead, and will they rise from the dead when the central bankers get their way? So many serious questions!

  27. Unfortunately published stats concerning coronavirus are near useless. Regardless:
    Deaths from respiratory illness increase during the winter and decrease during the summer. The reason is not known but increasing evidence suggests vitamin D and sun exposure play a significant role.
    Deaths from the flu and other causes have mysteriously disappeared or declined during the Covid-19 pandemic. This suggests a silver lining to COVID-19: it is a cure for the seasonal flu, cancer and cardiovascular disease.

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