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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

Dave Lawler, author of World
Oct 15, 2020 - World

Special report: Europe braces for monster 2nd coronavirus wave

Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

The pandemic has come storming back to Europe, and hope of a return to normality is being replaced by a much more ominous prospect: the return to lockdown.

The big picture: Case counts in countries like France and Spain have skyrocketed past the numbers seen during the spring peak. While that’s partially due to more widespread testing, it’s now clear that deaths are climbing too.

Trump baselessly accuses Fauci of being a "Democrat"

President Trump again criticized Anthony Fauci, the government's top infectious disease expert, during a campaign rally in North Carolina on Thursday, claiming without evidence that the NIAID director is "a Democrat," and accusing him of downplaying the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Since the onset of the pandemic, Trump has repeatedly undermined Fauci, who has five decades of public service, describes himself as apolitical and is not registered with either party. In public statements and tweets, Trump has accused Fauci of blundering the government's response to the virus.