Dude, What Happened?

Check out this graph from the Virginia Department of Health COVID-19 dashboard. Look how dramatically the seven-day moving average of COVID-related deaths in Virginia plunged in early January. Peaking at 51 on Dec. 31, the average daily deaths dropped to 18 by Jan. 7.

In Central Virginia, one of five regions, the rolling average dropped to 1.14 deaths. Very similar pattern in Northern Virginia. The numbers haven’t been that low since March 2020 in either region!

The decline in deaths is considerably sharper than the drop for confirmed cases and hospitalizations, so the epidemic is far from vanquished. And the drop seems to have plateaued. Still, unless the numbers are a statistical artifact that does not reflect real-world trends, this looks like good news.