Japan is starting to see a decline in daily new COVID-19 cases — a major relief after infections rose exponentially in the past month — but experts say it’s still too early for people to let their guard down, especially since past waves have shown that critical cases and deaths continue to rise well after daily cases peak.

“The growth in the number of severely ill patients is likely to continue for a while” even if the number of new infections passes its peak, said Shigeru Omi, chairman of the government’s coronavirus subcommittee, during a Lower House committee session Monday.

He also expressed concern that the number of fatalities linked to COVID-19 may increase due to a recent series of infection clusters at facilities for elderly people.