Why Are U.S. Covid Cases Falling? And Will the Trend Last?

With vaccinations underway, and as multiple new coronavirus variants begin to spread, we check in on the state of the pandemic.

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The number of new coronavirus cases in the United States is falling, but does that mean the country has turned a corner in the pandemic?

There is an awful reality behind the decline: As the virus has run through the U.S., it has infected a third of the population, according to most epidemiological models, and killed over 400,000 people in the country.

And the downward trajectory may not last, as the threat posed by new virus variants looms large.

Today, we discuss the latest in the quest to stamp out the coronavirus.

On today’s episode

Donald G. McNeil Jr., a science and health reporter for The New York Times.

Background reading

New daily cases are starting to slow, in what some health experts see as a turning point. But they warn of a bumpy vaccination rollout amid the emergence of more contagious variants.

The C.D.C. has eased coronavirus vaccine rules: The agency now says people can switch authorized vaccines between the first and second doses, and also extend the interval between doses to six weeks.

One year, 400,000 coronavirus deaths: a look at how the U.S. set itself up for failure.

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Donald G. McNeil Jr. contributed reporting.

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