This weekend the US saw COVID-19 deaths drop to their lowest point in more than a year, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The number reported for Sunday, 222 deaths, is the lowest since March 23, 2020, when 192 confirmed deaths were recorded in the pandemic's early days. At a White House briefing Monday, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky called recent trends concerning, however. She noted that cases have been rising for the past four weeks, and the CDC is monitoring some variants that are more highly transmissible. Sunday's count might not be complete either: Because it was the Easter holiday, the data might not include full reports from all states. Numbers from California were not available Sunday, for example, reports the Hill.
Indeed, the Wall Street Journal reported early Tuesday that new cases were sharply higher in Monday's numbers than they had been Sunday, likely due to some states' lack of reporting over the holiday weekend. The US reported 603 COVID deaths Monday. But during Monday’s briefing, Walensky confirmed the average number of deaths last week was lower than the week prior. She noted that, while some of the news remains grim, millions of Americans are “stepping up every day to get vaccinated," at an average rate of 3 million per day. She believes "widespread vaccination will bring us to the end of the COVID-19," she said. The coronavirus has claimed 555,600 lives in the US and more than 2.86 million around the world. (Read more COVID-19 stories.)