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US hits 700,000 Covid deaths but cases begin to fall

An estimated 70 million eligible Americans remain unvaccinated.

THE US HAS passed 700,000 deaths from Covid-19, but the surge from the Delta variant has started to slow down.

It took three and a half months for the US to go from 600,000 to 700,000 deaths, driven by the variant’s spread through unvaccinated Americans.

An estimated 70 million eligible Americans remain unvaccinated.

Despite the rising death toll, there are signs of improvement.

Nationwide, the number of people in hospital with Covid-19 has fallen to around 75,000, from more than 93,000 in early September.

New cases have fallen to about 112,000 per day on average, a drop of about a third over the past two and a half weeks.

Deaths also appear to be declining, averaging about 1,900 a day versus more than 2,000 about a week ago.

The easing of the summer surge has been attributed to more mask wearing and more people getting vaccinated.

The decrease in case numbers could also be due to the virus having burned through susceptible people and running out of fuel in some places.

In another development, Merck said on Friday its experimental pill for people sick with Covid-19 reduced hospital admissions and deaths by half.

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If it wins authorisation from regulators, it will be the first pill for treating Covid-19, and an important, easy-to-use new weapon in the arsenal against the pandemic.

Dr Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease specialist, warned on Friday that some may see the encouraging trends as a reason to remain unvaccinated.

“It’s good news we’re starting to see the curves” coming down, he said. “That is not an excuse to walk away from the issue of needing to get vaccinated.”

Unknowns include how flu season may strain already depleted hospital staffs and whether those who have refused to get vaccinated will change their minds.

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