Data: The COVID Tracking Project; Note: The U.S. daily count had an anomalous spike on June 25 due to New Jersey recording a large number of probable deaths; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Coronavirus deaths are ticking up in the new hotspots of Florida, Texas and Arizona, even as they continue to trend down nationally.

Why it matters: As infections soar, deaths will inevitably follow. And infections are soaring.

Driving the news: Arizona reported a record 117 deaths yesterday, and hospitalizations are skyrocketing there and in other hotspots.

  • Texas reported a record 60 new deaths and 10,000 new cases. Florida reported 63 new deaths.
  • “It’s a false narrative to take comfort in a lower rate of death,” infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said yesterday.

The big picture: The U.S. mortality rate declined from around 7% in mid-April to around 2% by early July, and is now significantly lower than many other wealthy countries.

Between the lines: Experts offer several explanations for why the nationwide death trend may not be increasing as cases pile up.

  • We’re now testing much more prolifically, so we're catching more cases, overall.
  • Younger, healthier patients make up a larger share of infections than they did early on, and newly infected young people may not have spread the virus to more vulnerable people — at least not yet.
  • We’ve also learned more about how to treat the virus since March, making hospitalizations less likely to result in death. The number of deaths per hospitalized patient has fallen by almost 50% since the pandemic’s April peak, per a Bernstein analysis.

What they're saying: "When you start identifying people at earlier stages of a disease, it looks like they survive longer (or have the disease longer) compared to when you identify based on severe symptoms," tweeted Boston University School of Public Health professor Ellie Murray.

What we’re watching: The number of daily deaths could exceed April’s peak by late August, according to the Bernstein analysis.

Go deeper

23 hours ago - Health

Florida surpasses 500,000 confirmed coronavirus cases

Emergency at Coral Gables Hospital near Miami on July 30. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

Florida has reported over 500,000 total confirmed coronavirus cases as of Wednesday, according to the state's health department.

Why it matters: Florida joins California as the only two states to surpass this milestone. Texas, which is reporting the third-most confirmed cases in the country, is not far behind, according to Johns Hopkins data.

Coronavirus hotspots begin to improve

Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Danielle Alberti, Sara Wise/Axios

Coronavirus infections are falling or holding steady in most of the country, including the hard-hit hotspots of Arizona, California and Florida.

The big picture: A decline in new infections is always good news, but don't be fooled: the U.S. still has a very long way to go to recover from this summer's surge.

Updated 12 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios VisualsThe

The Philippines' economy sunk into recession as its gross domestic product shrank 16.5% in the second quarter — marking the lowest reading since 1981, official figures show.

The big picture: Millions of Filipinos went on lockdown Tuesday as cases surged past 106,300, with stay-at-home orders in place for two weeks in Manila and nearby provinces on the island of Luzon, per the BBC. The economy's contraction is the "deepest" on record, Bloomberg notes.