(Bloomberg) -- The number of people dying with Covid-19 in U.S. hospitals appears to have peaked, the latest sign of reprieve after the delta variant fueled record spikes in infections in some states.

The seven-day average of U.S. hospital deaths with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 is down 8.9% from the recent peak on Sept. 16, according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services data. 

Over the course of the pandemic, hospital deaths have accounted for about 70% of all Covid-19 deaths, and the proportion has been even higher in recent months. The HHS data have proved a reliable leading indicator of the direction in Covid-19 deaths, which are reported with a comparatively large time lag.

The HHS data is based on Covid patients who died with the virus, without direct consideration of the cause of death -- a different standard from the official toll.

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