At last, it appears that the Delta wave may be receding, as for now, the US is on a definite downslope in cases. As of yesterday, the US recorded 135,000 cases, a 31,000 decrease from the peak only 20 days before:
Deaths have continued to rise but may peak out below the 2400 level I identified previously as the low end of the range for a likely top by the end of this month.
A look at the regional breakdowns shows that the Northeast and Midwest have continued to rise, albeit slowly, and may or may not be peaking. The West has declined, mainly driven by California. But the big news is that in the South, where Delta hit early and severely, cases have declined by 30%:
Further, when we look at the 10 worst jurisdictions for cases, only South Carolina is from the Deep South. Aside from Guam, we have 3 States – KY, TN, and WV – from the Appalachians, and 5 – AK, ID, MT, ND, and WY – sparsely populated States in the northern West:
Needless to say, all of these States are among the lowest vaccinated.
An issue is whether the opening of the school year in the North will drive cases to a new peak. Since schools have been open over 2 weeks, and given the fast transmissibility of Delta, we ought to be seeing not just an increase, but an acceleration of that increase, within the next week, if school spread is enough to cause a renewed Delta wave.
In that regard, let me just showcases and deaths in Israel, which has a similar vaccination profile to the US, with a similar anti-vaxx religious component:
Cases and deaths are both down about 1/3rd from their recent peak there, even with schools open.
An even better example is India, where the Delta variant first struck:
Cases and deaths have totally reverted to background rates, declining by more than 90% from the peak – and I hear tell that there are schools in India, so that doesn’t seem to have precluded the decline.
If by the end of this month we don’t see a big increase from the reopening of schools in the North, then I expect the Delta wave to continue to ebb until cold weather arrives.