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'It's not surprising' | Local doctor weighs in on slowing of COVID-19 delta wave

Dr. Syed Hussain said while the wave is slowing, schools opening is still 'reason for caution'.
Credit: AP
FILE - In this July 16, 2021, file photo, a nurse sticks her head out of a room of a COVID-19 patient in the CoxHealth Emergency Department in Springfield, Mo. The COVID-19 pandemic has created a nurse staffing crisis that is forcing many U.S. hospitals to pay top dollar to get the help they need to handle the crush of patients this summer. (Nathan Papes/The Springfield News-Leader via AP)

HARTFORD, Conn. — The state’s weekly COVID-19 update provided some good news and some bad news, as some key indicators headed in different directions.

The state now reports COVID-related deaths weekly, and that number has been steadily rising since early July, with 39 reported in the week ending Thursday.

Credit: FOX61
39 COVID-related deaths were reported in the seven days ending on September 2.

However, deaths tend to lag behind other indicators, like hospitalizations, by a few days to a couple of weeks, as it often takes that long for hospitalized patients to get sick enough to die. Similarly, death trends often lag the test positivity curve by even longer, which reflects the delay for most people between diagnosis and death.

In Connecticut, both hospitalizations and the two-week rolling average of test positivity have declined for a few days, now, which could be a sign that deaths per week could soon decline as well. 

Credit: FOX61
The rolling average, shown in orange, rose briefly above 3.5% before beginning to drop this week.

Dr. Syed Hussain, the Chief Clinical Officer of Trinity Health of New England, said he’s not surprised at the recent leveling off of new cases and hospitalizations as of Thursday.    

“The reason it’s not surprising in terms of the number of cases we’ve seen in Connecticut and in this region is because of the high number of people who have rolled up their sleeves and gotten vaccinated,” Hussain said.

RELATED: CT COVID-19 Updates: Positivity rate slightly up to 2.99%, hospitalizations continue to decline

Despite the recent progress, Hussain said the jury is still out on the question over whether this is the beginning of the end for this wave of the delta variant of the coronavirus.

“The only reason I’m a little hesitant to say yes, we’re clearly out of the woods right now, is because schools are reopening, and it remains to be seen the impact that schools will have on the transmission of the virus,” said Dr. Hussain.

Even if school openings don’t lead to a rise in cases, we may start seeing another wave as soon as the weather gets colder, which is what we saw with the coronavirus last winter.

RELATED: Yes, some COVID-19 vaccine doses are past their initial expiration date, but that doesn’t mean they’re unsafe

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