ABC wonders: Why haven't we seen a dramatic drop in COVID-19 cases yet? Update: What about deaths?

Er … what? It’s true that cases have yet to drop to the zero line yet, but this take from ABC News ignores reality:

States across the country are reporting large numbers of people getting their coronavirus shots, and according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 95 million doses have been administered over the last month alone.

Regardless, the number of newly reported COVID-19 cases in the U.S. has not decreased dramatically, in fact, there is a seven-day average hovering around 60,000 cases a day, according to CDC data.

This is utter nonsense. It’s true that the seven-day average sits at just over 55,000 cases a day. It’s also true that it peaked at 247,000+ cases per day as the vaccination campaign began. The CDC charts this on an ongoing basis, and it’s tough to look at this chart and not see a “dramatically” decreased daily case load:

A nearly 80% drop in the daily rate over a two-month period looks pretty frickin’ dramatic to me, but YMMV, I guess. The peak came on January 12; by March 12, the daily case rate had dropped to 53,000-plus, a decline of 78.3%. That correlates entirely with the vaccine rollout, obviously. It certainly doesn’t correlate with any broad shift to warmer weather either, which only arrived as cases plateaued. And the case loads are dropping again, thankfully.

It’s true that correlation doesn’t equal causation, but come on, man. The travel season ended at the beginning of January, which drove the spike, but in a disease as transmissible as COVID-19, we should have seen a lot of secondary and tertiary transmissions. The slope of that kind of curve can be seen in the CDC’s chart in the second wave from July to September. Instead, daily case rates dropped like a rock. The only real explanation for that is vaccinations.

This take from ABC looks like the genre of media coverage that some critics are calling “panic porn.” We don’t need sunshine blown up our kilts, but we also don’t need endless doom-and-gloom takes, especially when it comes to vaccines. Cases have dropped dramatically, and it is because of vaccinations. It shows that vaccines work, which cuts against the implicit message of ABC’s headline “Why COVID-19 cases haven’t seen sharp drop despite spike in vaccinations.”

The sharp drop from vaccinations is obvious from the CDC data. Let’s emphasize that, and incentivize more Americans to get their inoculations so we can drive those numbers to the zero line.

Update: What about deaths? That data is even more dramatic:

The seven-day daily death average is 666 today. It peaked on January 13th at 3,457, which comes out to a reduction of 80.8% over a three-month period. Again, this correlates so closely with the vaccine rollout that it’s impossible to conclude that there isn’t a causative relation here. And note that while cases have plateaued for a few weeks, deaths have continued to decline, suggesting that either vaccinated people are surviving better or the disease has moved to younger and healthier individuals who can resist it better.