Some optimism for Friday the 13th!
When looking at the numbers in terms of overall number of infections in the United States over the past week, it looks as if the rate of increase of new COVID-19 infections is starting to flatten. This is particularly obvious when one looks at the seven-day averages in the national infection figures.
Given the large number of infectious people and the degree of rise observed over the past several weeks, many will be reluctant to suggest we may be starting to see the top of this third peak. In addition, this should not be taken as any indication that Americans should lower their guard or increase their social interactions at this time. It is also important to note that the stabilization is not apparent in all areas of the nation, especially given the high rates of infection in some areas.
Despite this, even hospitalizations appear to be trailing down in some of the hardest hit states, such as North and South Dakota and Wisconsin.
Other indications that the overall rate of increase in infections is decreasing are the Rt values. The R values (measure of virus spread) in most states reflect a decrease in the rate of new infections over two weeks ago, suggesting less infection activity (although still higher than a month ago).
Finally, the death rate from COVID-19 has not increased in this third peak anywhere near where it was in April! This is a remarkable accomplishment related to the quality of healthcare delivered in the United States along with the lessons learned from the first peak of COVID-19.
If we can just get this peak of COVID-19 infections under control through the holidays and are able to launch vaccinations early in January, life should get better.