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Charts: Signs suggest the pandemic is weakening, but experts still urge caution

Nurse Claire Karas administers the vaccine at a CVS in East Boston.
Nurse Claire Karas administers the vaccine at a CVS in East Boston.Erin Clark/Globe Staff

Coronavirus case and death numbers in Massachusetts and across the nation are on the decline. But experts, worried about the arrival of new variants stoking another surge, are urging people to continue to take precautions - and get vaccinated.

Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical adviser on the pandemic, said Monday on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” that the coronavirus numbers are “dramatically down with a sharp deflection.”

But he said, “We’ve got to be really careful and not just say, ‘OK, we’re finished now. We’re through it.’ We have variants out there that could actually set us back.”

“We’ve got to keep pushing and pushing, because this thing could bounce back with the variants very, very quickly. We cannot declare victory because that curve is coming down so sharply,” he said.

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“While cases and hospitalizations continue to move in the right direction, we remain in the midst of a very serious pandemic, and we continue to have more cases than we did even during ... last summer’s peak,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said at a White House COVID-19 response team briefing last week. “The continued spread of variants that are more transmissible could jeopardize the progress we have made in the last month if we let our guard down.”

Officials say it’s important that people continue to take measures such as wearing masks, socially distancing, handwashing, and avoiding large gatherings. And they say that people should be sure to get their coronavirus vaccinations when they’re eligible.

In a Viewpoint article posted online Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Walensky, Fauci, and Dr. Henry Walke, another top CDC official, said “a concerted and well-coordinated public health effort, together with rapid and widespread uptake of effective vaccines, is essential to remain ahead of the inevitable evolution of variants that could dangerously accelerate the trajectory of the pandemic.”

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The following charts show how we’re doing as a country and a state:

Nationally, cases are down as a third surge subsides.

Deaths are also declining.

Massachusetts did not have a summer surge. Its second surge, which began in the fall, is now on the wane. Cases are down.


Deaths in Massachusetts are also trending down.




Martin Finucane can be reached at martin.finucane@globe.com.