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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.

Go deeper

Sep 29, 2020 - Health

NYC's coronavirus positivity rate spikes to highest since June

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images

New York City's coronavirus positivity rate has ticked up to 3.25%, its highest since June, Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference on Tuesday.

Why it matters: The jump — from 1.93% on Monday — came on the first day that public elementary classrooms reopened in the city after months of closures, but guidelines state that all public schools will have to shut if the citywide seven-day positivity rate stays above 3%.

Updated Jan 18, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director defends agency's response to pandemic — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Empire State Building among hundreds to light up in Biden inauguration coronavirus tribute.
  3. Vaccine: Fauci: 100 million doses in 100 days is "absolutely" doable.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode again.
  5. Tech: Kids' screen time sees a big increase.
Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
Sep 30, 2020 - Health

The coronavirus' alarming impact on the body

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Scientists are racing to learn more about the damage the novel coronavirus can do to the heart, lungs and brain.

Why it matters: It’s becoming increasingly clear that some patients struggle with its health consequences — and costs — far longer than a few weeks.