Is this what normal now looks like?
By Jacob Stern
This is where we are. Steady state unless a more dangerous variant appears. On a plateau.
Almost 3000 deaths a month. That’s the bad news and the good news. Good because deaths are way down.
And we’ve become habituated to it as “the new normal.”Michael Lerner
Over the past week, an average of 491 Americans have died of COVID each day, according to data compiled by The New York Times. The week before, the number was 382. The week before that, 494. And so on.
For the past five months or so, the United States has trod along something of a COVID-death plateau. This is good in the sense that after two years of breakneck spikes and plummets, the past five months are the longest we’ve gone without a major surge in deaths since the pandemic’s beginning, and the current numbers are far below last winter’s Omicron highs. (Case counts and hospital admissions have continued to fluctuate but, thanks in large part to the protection against severe disease conferred by vaccines and antivirals, they have mostly decoupled from ICU admissions and deaths; the curve, at long last, is flat.) But though daily mortality numbers have stopped rising, they’ve also stopped falling. Nearly 3,000 people are still dying every week.