Cases have also stabilized around the world. “The most likely explanation is the most contagious variants of the virus, such as variant B.1.1.7, which was first detected in Britain,” writes David Leonhardt in The New York Times. Jim Edwards of Business Insider notes that the increase in cases and deaths could be statistical noise, but notes that worrying new variants have also appeared in California and New York.
“Considering the compensatory increases in both vaccines and variants, coupled with the high probability that people will stop taking precautions, a fourth wave is very likely to occur this spring,” Apoorva Mandavilli reports in the Times, citing a majority of 21 experts interviewed on the pandemic. “But they emphasized that it is not an inevitable increase, if government officials and people maintain precautions for a few more weeks,” and “COVID-19 deaths will probably never rise as precipitously as in the past.”