The number of COVID-19 deaths per day reported in the U.S. dropped to its lowest point in more than a year on Sunday, with the country documenting 222 fatalities.
The U.S. saw daily toll drop from 676 fatalities recorded on Saturday, according to Johns Hopkins University statistics. The data show the number of daily deaths reached its lowest point since early in the pandemic on March 23, 2020, when 192 deaths were documented.
Johns Hopkins data typically show a dip in coronavirus deaths on Saturdays and Sundays amid different reporting patterns of state and county COVID-19 statistics, a situation that may have been exacerbated by the Easter holiday.
"Many states either did not report over the weekend or did not have any deaths to report," a Johns Hopkins spokesperson said in response to The Hill's questions about the low total. "About 37 dates didn't report any new deaths either to no reporting due to the holidays or just no new deaths. The California data portal was down yesterday and we are in the process of back-distributing the data."
Sunday’s death toll is a decrease from the seven-day average for fatalities through Saturday of 804 deaths per day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That's down from 968 the previous week.
CDC Director Rochelle Walenksy said that the seven-day average for deaths had decreased compared to last week’s data during a White House COVID-19 response team briefing.
But she warned that the country was entering its fourth week of “increased trends and cases,” including CDC data documenting a seven-day average of about 64,000 cases and 4,970 hospital admissions per day.
The news comes as Walensky has balanced warning about the risks still present in the pandemic and expressing encouragement about the progress of the vaccination effort in recent days.
“While we are watching these increased case counts with concern, the good news is that millions of Americans are stepping up every day to get vaccinated,” she said during Monday’s briefing.
Health officials celebrated on Monday that nearly one-quarter of American adults, almost 60 million, are fully vaccinated, with 40 percent of adults receiving at least one dose.
Last week, Walensky warned about “impending doom” as COVID-19 cases climbed if people do not follow health precautions.
—Updated at 3:58 p.m.