For the first time in over two months, COVID-19 cases are declining in the United States.
As of September 6, the U.S. is averaging 137,000 new daily cases nationwide, a nine percent decrease from the 151,000 case average two weeks ago on August 24.
It is the first time since June 30 that the national average is lower than the total from two weeks earlier.
The Delta variant-fueled COVID-19 surge began soon after June 30, striking the Midwest in early July.
A decline in cases could signal that the case surge that began just over two months ago may finally be reaching an end.
A majority of states do not report cases daily anymore, though, so the decline could be a matter of some holding on to data to report at a later date.
Some experts also fear cases could soon quickly start rising once again after many Americans travelled for the labor day holiday.
The country did reach another milestone this week as well, though, as the U.S. reached 40 million total COVID-19 cases on Monday.
The ‘Mu’ variant, a strain of the virus experts believe could be even more contagious and even evade vaccines is now being found in the United States as well.
Growth of COVID-19 cases has slowed in recent weeks, leading into the eventual decline of cases.
The nation was averaging just over 10,000 cases per day at the start of July.
That figure quickly inflated, though, having doubled by July 12, and increase eight-fold by the end of the month.
The growth was fueled by the Delta variant, the more contagious virus strain that originated in India.
Delta caused massive surges in the South Asian nation in May, causing the country to suffer the worst outbreak the world has seen so far, suffering over 4,000 deaths per day at some points.
The variant then began to make its way across the world, causing an outbreak in the U.K. before eventually finding the U.S.
It is now the dominant strain in America, accounting for more than 99 percent of new cases.
Experts have predicted that case numbers would soon fall, though, as in other countries the Delta variant-fueled surges often began to end after two months.
Cases of COVID-19 are declining over a two-week period for the first time since June, as experts hope the Delta variant-fueled surge may soon come to an end. Pictured: A man in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is tested for COVID-19
Despite the decline in cases, deaths and hospitalizations are still increasing as both figures often lag behind. Pictured: A doctor in a Jonesboro, Arkansas, COVID-19 ward treats a patient
The same may be happening now in the U.S., with cases now potentially on the decline after over two consecutive months of growth.
Deaths and hospitalizations often lag behind cases, though, and are continuing to rise despite a recent drop in cases.
Daily COVID-19 deaths have risen by 50 percent over the past two weeks, from around 1,000 a day on August 24 to over 1,500 in the first week of September.
This is the first time deaths have eclipsed 1,500 per day since March, before the COVID-19 vaccines were widely available.
Hospitalizations are also at high levels, though showing signs of slowing down.
After eclipsing 100,000 hospitalizations every day last week, the figure has stayed around the level.
Hospitalizations have only grown by eight percent over the past two weeks, and with cases declining the figure should eventually start falling as well.
Still, many hospitals are reaching critical capacity at the moment, with 75 percent of ICU beds around the country currently in use.
But as Delta begins to recede, a new threat may be around the corner for Americans.
The ‘Mu’ variant, which originated in Colombia, has now been detected in 49 U.S. states.
The strain was discovered in South America in January, but was not labeled with a Greek letter name and declared a variant of interest by the World Health Organization until August 30.
In the time since, the variant as quickly worked its way across the U.S.
Mu is especially worrisome, as it could be more contagious than Delta and could even have the ability to evade vaccine immunity.
The new strain still accounts for an insignificant portion of cases in the U.S. at the moment, though it will be a worry for public health officials going forward.
In total, the United States has suffered more than 40 million COVID-19 cases and 649,000 deaths since the pandemic first began.
Vaccination is still the most effective way to combat all variants, and experts still are pushing for every American to get jabbed to protect from the virus.
Currently, 62.3 percent of Americans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 53 percent of people are fully vaccinated.
Every American over the age of 12 is currently eligible for a vaccine.