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Ever since late January, the number of new coronavirus infections and COVID-19 deaths has been on an enormous decline.

The precise reasons why will probably elude us for some time, though experts have previously pointed toward the increased pace of vaccine administration, lifestyle changes, and the fact that a spike from ill-advised holiday travel and gatherings would have ended by now as contributing factors.

It's probably a combination of several things working together. But regardless of the "why," it's clear that the pandemic is gradually easing up, at least for right now. After peaking in January, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s daily tallies for both new infections and new deaths have shown a steady decrease over the past month. The same trend appears to hold true throughout much of the world.

New COVID-19 cases. CDC

That's great news if you're looking to finally breath a sigh of relief. But with over 500,000 dead worldwide and with top White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci saying that the United States handled the coronavirus worse than just about any other country in the world, it's certainly too soon to celebrate the downward trend as a success story.

New COVID-19 deaths. CDC.

Even with the rate of new infections and coronavirus deaths dropping, more and more people are still getting sick and dying from COVID-19. Those total counts will continue to climb, but the rate at which they're climbing has started to decrease. Even at what preliminarily appears to be the tail end of the third wave of coronavirus infections in the United States, the number of people who die from the disease in a week is still higher than it's been since the initial surge of infections in April.

Time will tell whether the new coronavirus variants spreading around the world will cause another major spike in infections or if ongoing vaccination efforts will nip them in the bud. For now, however, things at least seem to be moving in the right direction.