Report Outlines Three COVID-19 Surges, Tracks Current Steep Decline in Cases


The current surge peaked on January 11, 2021, but took just 5 days to decrease by 10%, compared to 22 days following the first peak in April 2020.

The United States has a current 7-day COVID-19 case average of 64,034, the lowest level since mid-October of 2020, according to a report by Nephron Research. This sharp decline could be for a variety of reasons, but notably comes when vaccination rates are sharply increasing.

April 10, 2020, saw the original peak of 31.1 thousand cases, although the report authors noted that this peak is barely noticeable compared to later surges. The second summer peak averaged 66.6 thousand daily cases on July 23, whereas the third peak came on January 11, 2021, with an average of 247.1 thousand cases.

In April 2020, the researchers said it took 65 days to move from the start of the uptick to the peak. The decline was moderate, taking 22 days to see a 10% decrease in cases and then 60 days to reach a trough. Notably, however, this surge never saw cases below 64% of the peak.

The second surge saw both a sharper climb and a faster decline, taking 44 days from the start to the peak and just 11 days for a 10% drop in cases. It then took 31 days for cases to decline to 64% and a total of 51 days for case averages to trough at 51% of the peak.

The third surge was the largest by far, and also the slowest to climb. It took 121 days to move from the prior trough to the new peak, with the weekly average hitting 247.1 thousand cases. This peak was driven largely by the holiday season, as people traveled to family gatherings despite the warnings of health officials. Notably, however, it took just 5 days from the peak on January 11 to see cases fall by 10%, much faster than the previous surges.

After 17 days, cases were down as much as the first surge’s decline, and after just 25 days they were at 51% of the peak. Most importantly, the report authors said the current case average is running 74% below the recent peak, a decline much steeper than the previous abatements and in just 42 days.

This faster rate of improvement may be attributable to vaccine administration, which could increase even more in the coming weeks with the potential approval of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine. The United States has administered 64.2 million COVID-19 doses as of February 22, although it is important to note that this does not equate to 64.2 million vaccinated people, as the 2 currently approved vaccines require 2 doses.

Over the past week, an average of 1.28 million vaccines have been administered per day, which is approximately a 14% decrease relative to the 7-day trailing average of approximately 1.5 million as of February 15. On a week over week basis, the report authors said the average daily vaccine administration has declined in each of the past 7 days.


COVID-19 Tracker February 23, 2021: Current Decline in Cases is Faster and Steeper. Nephron; February 23, 2021. Accessed February 25, 2021.

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