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COVID-19 deaths are beginning to plateau in the US, adding another promising sign that the latest coronavirus surge has peaked.
The 7-day average of daily deaths has hovered around 2000 for more than a week and dropped below 1900 on Thursday. The trend follows a 2-month climb in deaths as the Delta variant hit unvaccinated populations, particularly in Arkansas, Florida, and Louisiana.
Now, the Delta variant surge has moved to the northern part of the country, with hot spots in Idaho, Montana, and Maine. But as case numbers drop in populous Southern states such as Florida, the daily death toll should continue to decline, The Wall Street Journal reported.
COVID-19 cases began to level off nationally in early September, and hospitalizations and deaths have followed a similar trend several weeks later.
The US reported about 84,500 additional COVID-19 deaths in August and September, which is more than four times the number of known coronavirus deaths from June and July, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
The US has now reported nearly 698,000 COVID-19 deaths during the pandemic, surpassing the 675,000 US deaths from the 1918 flu pandemic. The US population is about three times larger now, the newspaper reported.
Globally, COVID-19 cases and deaths continue to decline, according to a weekly update from the World Health Organization. More than 3.3 million new cases and 55,000 new deaths were reported worldwide during the past week, marking a 10% drop in both, compared with the week before.
The largest decreases in cases were reported in the Middle East, the Western Pacific region, and the Americas, the WHO reported.
New weekly deaths declined about 15% in all areas except for the European region, which had a similar number of deaths as the week before, and the African region, which had a 5% increase.
The WHO first reported a substantial decrease in cases in mid-September, with declines seen in all areas of the world. It was the first time in more than 2 months that cases had fallen.
At the same time, the WHO warned there may be more COVID-19 spikes as the Northern Hemisphere enters colder months, when people spend more time indoors.