The virus is receding

We hate to be the bearer of good news, but here goes: The so-called second virus wave is receding and has been far less deadly than the first in the spring thanks to better therapies and government preparation. Nobody is suggesting we should now let it rip, but the progress should give Americans more confidence that schools and businesses can reopen safely.

Most states experienced flare-ups of varying degrees this summer as people gathered and travelled more. But outbreaks were worse in the South and West, for reasons that deserve more study but could include high rates of co-morbidities and more multigenerational households. Some U.S. nationals and migrant workers also brought the virus from Mexico.

But the U.S. seven-day rolling average of new cases has fallen by about 40% from its peak on July 25. Hospitalizations and deaths in hot spots peaked at about the same time in apparent contradiction to epidemiological models that have predicted two- to three-week lags between cases, hospitalizations and deaths.