The Covid Delta variant may have finally begun to peak in the US — amid speculation, it has followed the same two-month trajectory as other previous mutations.
While the number of cases continues to rise in the United States, the rate has slowed in recent weeks, leading many experts to believe the variant that ravaged the country is running out of fuel.
Cases grew 67 percent from August 2 to August 16, from 85,000 per day to 142,000 per day, and just 15 percent, from 139,000 per day to 160,000 per day from August 17 to 31.
The sharp drop in case surge could be a blip on the radar, a brief hiatus before a bigger spike, or it could be the beginning of the end of the 2021 summer surge.
However, previous peaks often lasted about two months, and since Delta first erupted in the Midwest in late June, this peak could represent the mutation on the same schedule as previous variants, which began to decline after two months.
Also in many countries that were hit by the virus before the United States, cycles of the Delta variant have lasted about two months.
In India, where the variant was formed, cases started to rise in late March.
The South Asian nation went from 60,000 new cases per day on March 31 and peaked on May 8 with nearly 400,000 cases per day.
By the end of May, two months after the wave got going, cases had fallen to 175,000 a day, and from then on it only accelerated.
England first felt the effects of the Delta variant outbreak in early June, where the country recorded 2,600 cases per day.
At its peak in mid-July, the island’s outbreak had reached more than 40,000 new cases per day.
The number of cases declined rapidly thereafter, halving to just 20,000 new cases per day by mid-August.
Earlier peaks in America, such as last year’s summer and winter waves, also subsided sharply after about two months.
If the Delta variant peaks in the United States, two months after the variant first started to impress, the number of cases could also drop rapidly – as has been shown in other countries.
Exactly why this happens cannot be confirmed by scientists.
“We are still in the age of the cave in understanding how viruses arise, how they spread, how they start and stop, why they do what they do,” said Michael Osterholm, an epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota, on the New York Times.
However, experts have a few theories.
The first is that certain people can be more vulnerable to certain variants, and once all those people are infected, the virus will start to subside.
A second theory is that it takes about two months for the virus to reach an average-sized group of people.
Once it gets through each cluster, the virus stops spreading, although the spread starts again when people travel outside their circle.
This is why outbreaks are common in the summer and end-of-year holidays, as these are times when many can travel despite possible fears of the virus.
A rapid decline in COVID-19 cases couldn’t come at a better time for hospitals across the country, either.
Nearly 80% of hospital ICUs in America are currently occupied as more than 100,000 people are hospitalized every day due to Covid across the country. Pictured: A doctor treats a Covid patient in a Mission Hills, California, ICU
Emergency departments and ICUs have been flooded in recent weeks with a sharp increase in severe Delta cases.
The United States eclipsed 100,000 new hospitalizations per day last month, the first time the figure had been reached since the winter’s COVID-19 surge.
Nearly 80 percent of ICU beds in America are currently occupied, according to data from the United States Department of Health and Human Services.
Less than ten percent of hospital beds are available in six states, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and Texas.
The death toll is also on the rise, with the nation eclipsing 1,300 deaths a day this week — the most since mid-March.
A majority of these deaths and hospitalizations are among unvaccinated people.
In America, more than 72 percent of the eligible population, anyone 12 years of age or older, and 62 percent of the total population have received at least one shot of the vaccine.