Jun 22, 2020 - Health

U.S. coronavirus cases are increasing, but deaths aren't — yet

Data: The COVID Tracking Project; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

The number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. is on the rise again, but the number of daily deaths is still dropping from the U.S.'s mid-April peak.

Between the lines: This is likely in part because younger people, for now, are accounting for a larger share of new infections.

What they're saying: The falling number of new deaths are "among other things a reflection of improvements in medical care, and more diagnosed cases occurring in milder disease and younger patients as older individuals protect themselves better," former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb recently tweeted.

Yes, but: Young people don't exist in social silos; they visit older family members and interact with older or sicker coworkers. That means that as these more vulnerable groups get the virus, the death rate may shoot back up.

  • "The death rate always lags several weeks behind the infection rate," top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci told me.
  • The high number of cases in young people is "not surprising," Fauci added, as younger people are more likely to engage in riskier behaviors right now. "They get infected first, then they come home, and then they infect the older people. The older people get the complications, and then they go to the hospitals."

Details: Officials in southern states are becoming alarmed about the number of cases in young adults, the New York Times reports. Outbreaks in these states are being tied to bars and frat parties.

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